Over the last few years we’ve seen a lot of big changes in the pearl industry, never before have women had so many options when it comes to pearls. Overall we’ve seen a major shift from modest white, round pearls to large funky shaped pearls with impossible colors. Freshwater souffle pearls, fireball pearls and Ripples are clearly here to stay.
Tradition be damned! The wild shapes and colors possible with Freshwater Ripples.
One of the most interesting developments has been the rise of the Freshwater Ripple pearl. By some accounts these pearls are “rejects “, intended to be round and smooth, bead nucleated pearls. Somewhere between nucleation and harvesting the humble freshwater mussel decides she has different plans. Instead of a perfectly round pearl, she creates a pearl with wrinkled skin, wild baroque shapes and in the best examples, crazy orient and luster.
An example of the intense natural colors on the very best Freshwater Ripples.
Almost a year ago I made my first wholesale purchase of these Kasumi pearl look a likes, the price was right and I was looking for something different. At that point I only found them available from one producer and at the time he told me “nobody wants these, they want round pearl”, I replied “we’ll see” and took his “rejects” off his hands.
Fast forward to the June 2014 Hong Kong Gem Show and ripples are everywhere, no longer are they seen as rejects, instead they are a class of pearl all their own. While there is a large supply of ripples available, only a few suppliers have anything of quality. The supply of ripple pearls with metallic luster, good color and strong orient is very limited. Out of the 1000’s of loose strands available at the June show, only a few dozen had that “wow” factor.
Far from your classic white pearls, these strands aren't for the timid.
Since I expect to get requests on the strands posted here, I'll let everybody know that they will be on sale next week. I'll have a small collection of single strands, doubles and even a few ropes available. As usual watch the blog and our facebook page
Loose Ripple pearl strands ready to be sent to the stringers.