Head of Amsterdam Pearls Cees Van Oije invited me to visit Bangkok and to go around a sea pearls processing factory in the city.
This was a much bigger operation than the one I visited last year in China. It processed Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian pearls. Nevertheless the processes were just about identical. Pearls came in, were cleaned, sorted, drilled or not drilled, strung, graded and readied for the wholesale market.
Minutely tiny natural colours akoyas. It’s hard to see but some of these tiny tiny pearls were vivid blue
Imagine having to sort and assemble these tiny pearls into strands. Phew!
More tiny pearls
Sorting pearls using natural light from a north facing window
State of the art pearl drill. The cups are controlled by foot pedal and adjust to the correct pressure, both sides drill at once and when the cups release the pearl drops down a chute into a bowl
Pearls are made into strands using grooved boards and bamboo tweezers in front of a north facing window. The workday at the factory starts early to make the most of the north light
Tahitian pearls waiting to be sorted and graded
White South Sea pearls
Some of the roundish south sea pearls- various golds, greys and whites
This is a combined entry for the first two days here in Hong Kong at the spring jewellery show as this is the first chance I have had to write anything. It’s been busy since I arrived on Tuesday morning and went straight from Hong Kong airport to the show at nearby Asia World Expo centre .
I’ve spent the time finding some very special pearls..mostly some gorgeous south sea blues, golds and yes, some greens. I haven’t even tried to make pairs yet, just gone through bags and bags and bags of pearls to find those few I want to bring to you, as well as work with myself. One of the exciting side effects of being here is that my design brain wakes up and I find ideas popping up..(sometimes in what is the middle of the night here, but daytime in my head still) Of these ideas more in due course as they blossom.
I love this little fella! Large baroque white south sea pearl with blue googly eyes
The £ is sickly here…only three years ago one GBP bought $14.5HK and $1.60 USD. Now when I changed my money last night the best I could find was $9.56.HK and the USD is at 1.22. So prices will have to rise.
Breaking today’s HKD rate is 9.53. It just gets worse)
Anyway.here are some photos of the pearls!
two south sea strands
I’m dashing off now for day three. captions etc later!