Two weeks ago, I promised you a small “primer” on one of the newest, hottest pearl trends in Hong Kong: Ripple Pearls. “Ripple Pearls” are also known as “Kasumi-Style” Freshwater pearls, which I personally prefer but the name can be a bit confusing, as actual Kasumi Pearls come from Lake Kasumi-ga-Ura, Japan.
These Japanese Freshwater pearls were once very famous, and very, very covetable. They were the ONLY Japanese Freshwater pearls on the market, and known for their intense, metallic luster and array of dazzling, natural colors.
Unfortunately, Kasumi pearl production ceased in the 1980’s due to extensive pollution of Lake Kasumi-ga-Ura, and these rare gems became even rarer – found only in collector’s markets. Currently there are only 3 pearl producers working hard to bring back Kasumi pearl production in Japan as we speak – and I wish them all the luck in the world! Their pearls are STUNNING.
Back to the Ripples:
Cue 2009 and the Chinese picked up the Kasumi-pearl torch.
Using secret grafting techniques, and a specially hybridized Freshwater pearl mussel (a combination of the Hyriopsiscumingii and Hyriopsisschlegelli) a select few Freshwater pearl farmers began experimenting with creating a “Kasumi-style” Freshwater pearl.
This involved inserting an actual bead nucleus into the gonad of the Freshwater pearl mussel – similar to how saltwater pearls are nucleated.
These pearls quickly picked up the name “Ripple” pearls due to their heavily textured surfaces.
Check out these GORGEOUS pearls:
The intensity of the Orient is just astonishing!
Violet, magenta, bright flashes of Blue shimmer over every bit of surface area on each pearl …
Even the Peach ones have this intense iridescence you just don’t see on “regular” cultured pearls!
Here are some early Kasumi-style Peach Freshwater “Ripple” hanks I picked up in 2010 …
Debuting at the Hong Kong Jewelry Shows in 2009 and 2010, the initial harvests were priced at sky high premiums. This original lot I picked up showing Pink/Peach body colors and intense Gold and Aquamarine flashes were in the high hundreds into the thousands depending on the sizes and surface quality:
But as the prices came down after higher volumes of production, it’s made these new pearls much more affordable – we’re talking low hundreds for very high quality, 18-inch necklaces!!
I was able to get my hands on an incredibly gorgeous lot of White Freshwater Ripples, with delectably large, South Sea-sizes ranging from 11.0-13.0mm!
I’m creating these gorgeous pearls in a range of necklace lengths from 16-Inches to a stunning 36-Inch Opera Length!
Imagine 36-Inches of these pearls wrapped around your neck! I haven’t been able to stop playing with them since I got them in!