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The Romance of the Hanadama Pearls

Imagine an Akoya pearl, perfectly spherical, its white color tinged with a hint of rosé blush, its luster sharp, as if it is lit from within, and the very elusive shining orient, like a soap bubble, in soft pink and green, playing on its surface. Imagine the perfect pearl. That is the Hanadama Akoya.

The name “Hanadama” which means spherical flower in Japanese, was coined by Kokichi Mikimoto to describe the finest white Akoya pearls, which exhibited a natural pink tint, reminiscent of the delicate hues of cherry blossoms. To understand the rarity and beauty of these pearls, consider that Hanadama pearls are the highest grade possible of Akoya pearls and comprise the top 3% of the total harvest of a season.

Hanadama Pearl Necklace Pearls of Joy

Top Range Hanadama Pearl Necklace, 8.0-8.5mm, Pearls of Joy 

Certified Hanadama Akoya Pearls

The Hanadama certificate is issued by the Pearl Science Laboratory (PSL), an independent organization based in Tokyo, Japan. No pearl or strand can be considered Hanadama unless it has been certified and comes with the original certificate. There are some strict requirements that determine if an Akoya pearl meets the Hanadama criteria.

  • The nacre thickness should not be less than 0.4mm per side of the pearl (this is thick nacre for Akoya pearls and one of the reasons why the pearls have such gorgeous luster and orient)
  • The “Teri” value should be very strong (the Teri value is the combined measurement of light reflection and light interference, or light refraction in pearls, which makes it seem as if the pearl is lit up from within). In short, their luster should be very reflective.
  • The skin of the pearls should be almost completely without blemishes. For instance, less than 5% of the surface of a pearl should be blemished, to be considered for the Hanadama certification. The requirement for a strand of Akoya pearls is that it should only have one deep inclusion for the entire strand.
  • The pearls should have aurora or orient, the soap-bubble like iridescence that appears as secondary pink or green colors skimming the surface of the pearls

The Hanadama certification does not imply that the pearls do not have any imperfections. This is because all pearls have some imperfections, even if they can only be observed at the microscopic level. As a result, the PSL Hanadama certificate does not have a ‘flawless’ grade.

Close up Hanadama Pearl necklace

Hanadama Pearl Necklace, 6.5-7.0mm, Pearls of Joy

Two Types of Hanadama Pearls

Hanadama Akoya pearls are always perfectly round and are most often available in sizes ranging from 7mm to 9mm. Additionally, Hanadama pearl necklaces are always perfectly matched as far as color, luster and orient are concerned. However, within the Hanadama grade, it is possible to find two different types of pearls. First, are the regular white Hanadama pearls, which are treated pearls and which exhibit a slightly pinkish tone (achieved through a coloring process called pinking). Second, there are the natural white Hanadama pearls, which are untreated and therefore rarer, which makes them more valuable.  

Hanadama pearl necklace

Top Range Hanadama Pearl Necklace, 8.5-9.0mm, Pearls of Joy

Why Choose Hanadama Akoya Pearls?

The one characteristic of pearls that makes them such a coveted gem is their luster. A highly lustrous pearl is a gem that is not easily forgotten. The luster pulls you in and you find it difficult to tear your eyes away from the luminescence of this sea-gem. Of all the different types of pearls, none can beat the luster and gleam of the Hanadama Akoyas. In addition, the aurora effect of the secondary colors, subtle and precious, makes these pearls doubly special.

But there is more to it than just these physical attributes. Pearl luster has always been valued for the effortless way it lights up the face of the wearer. The brightness of the pearls, almost magically transfers to the wearer, making them appear radiant. Wearing Hanadama pearls, whether as a pearl necklace or as pearl earrings, makes for a striking piece of jeweled adornment that adds beauty and charm to the wearer.

Hanadama Akoya pearls, especially the natural white Hanadama, are as rare as cultured pearls can get. According to Kevin Canning, pearl expert and CEO of Pearls of Joy, who has described them as the “Ferrari of pearls,” there are only two producers in Japan who produce these very exceptional pearls. As a result,  it takes time to collect enough matching pearls for a complete strand. This makes them a valuable addition to any jewelry collection. For pearl lovers and collectors who want to have something extraordinary in their jewelry collection, you can never go wrong with a piece of Hanadama pearl jewelry.

Featured Image: Hanadama Akoya Pearl Necklace, 9.5-10.0 mm, Pearls of Joy

Reema Farooqui is a content writer who loves pearls and pearl jewelry. You can find her on her website The Culture of Pearls or on Instagram at @thecultureofpearls 

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