While walking the floor of the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Show we found ourselves returning to the Galatea booth daily.
Chi, the founder is a true artist and visionary, creating some of the most interesting pearls at the show.
Some purists may cringe at the thought of carving up a perfect Tahitian pearl but you can't deny the skill and aesthetics of these one of kind pearls.
I strongly suggest you check out Chi's website to view his entire collection: http://www.galateausa.com
Galatea pearls are Tahitian pearls that are exclusively farmed in Vietnam and used by the pearl artist, Chi Huynh to create his unique and daring works of art.
Rather than a mother-of-pearl bead nucleus, Huynh seeds his pearl oysters with precious and semi-precious round gemstones like Australian Opal seen above.
Once the pearls are harvested, Huynh meticulously carves away the outer nacre layers revealing the precious gemstones hidden inside.
Huynh thought up his idea for Galatea Pearls around the year 2000 after accidentally chipping a regular pearl he was carving. The mother-of-pearl bead nucleus was exposed, which caught his eye. “I thought to myself, ‘what would happen if I grew a pearl using gemstone beads to let the color show through?’’’ says Huynh.
A brand new pearl type was born.
Yes, it's true! Huynh owns his own pearl farming operation located in Vietnam, which he started in 2005. Why, you ask?
It's because the government of Tahiti mandates a minimum 0.8mm nacre thickness on all Tahitian pearls grown in French Polynesia before qualifying for export. Galatea pearls need slightly thinner nacre than that to make the delicate carving process easier.
Huynh quickly patented his new pearls and nucleation technique, and has since worked to open over 1500 stores worldwide selling these organic works of art.
His Vietnamese pearl farm is still in operation, and his team includes over 150 employees raising pearls and helping to bring Galatea pearls to life.
These exotic Tahitian pearls hail from the warm tropical atolls of Tuamotu and Gambier Islands, part of French Polynesia. Each pearl in this strand was grown for at least two seasons (minimum of 18-24 months). While most "discount" strands are only grown one season. The extra time in the water is what gives these pearls exceptionally thick nacre and a deep three-dimensional luster.
Because of our founder's direct contacts in French Polynesia, we're able to offer this strand of pearls for 1/5th the price of traditional luxury retailers -- without sacrificing quality, luster or color.
This strand is a Multi-Color Tahitian, with a mix of light and dark body colors with silver, silver-blue, green and dark green and rich peacock overtones. The pearls have high luster and very, very light blemishes.