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Covid: Effects on Pearlescence

Covid has affected us. But I also have some exciting news about new stock of Robert Wan Tahitian pearls. During lockdown here in the UK I worked alone to keep things going and now we are very much a ‘face mask and wash your hands please’ place. So far the horrible virus hasn’t managed to get to us.  The government is re-opening everything far too quickly so we have decided we are going to carry on being reclusive and very very careful. We hope you understand if that means some delays to shipping and making of custom orders.

The other big problem is that, while I went to Hong Kong in Feb/March and could buy Tahitian, freshwater and south sea pearls and findings, I don’t know of any akoya sellers based in Hong Kong. Plus around now we would normally be compiling a shopping list for a trip next month. But Hong Kong has been effectively closed down since mid March, since there is a mandatory stuck-in-one-room quarantine for incomers. (and who can blame them for people from the UK?)

Now Hong Kong is coping with a huge (for them anyway) break out of the virus, so a hoped-for easing of the quarantine rules to allow the cancelled September show to go ahead in November is increasingly unlikely. Talking with some of my pearl friends in America and Australia this morning we are hoping for a vaccine and a show to go to in Feb/March.

I wonder if we will have vaccination certification stamped into passports as used to be required for smallpox when I was a child (remember smallpox? Not enough people do!)

Anyway, the pearl point of this rambly post is to tell you that in a complete break with everything we’ve done for the last decade, I bought some pearls sight unseen last month.

The larger lot of Robert Wan dark tahitians. The smallest are 12mm, going up to 15mm. That’s some big pearls

Out of the blue I was invited to participate in the first ever Robert Wan online pearl auction. Of course I was interested and eventually and cautiously bought two lots. It’s very hard to evaluate pearl quality in a couple of indifferent quality photos but I decided to take a punt and I’m glad I did. Out of around 100 big pearls (12-15mm drops mostly) I’ve made the pairs you’ve seen appearing on the website in the last week or so, and picked out some huge single pearls for pendants and enhancers.

 

Same lot with the pearls moved around on the tray

The colours are darkish, mostly greens with a few minor flaws and reasonably good lustre. They aren’t clean and they aren’t metallic but they are big and well coloured and if they were clean and metallic and well coloured they’d have been three or more times the price. So good deal for me is good deal for you all.

There was also a lot of lighter, also big drops:

Lighter and lustrous Tahitians.

Read up on Robert Wan here – https://www.robertwan.com and you’ll be able to find out more about the ‘father’ of Tahitian pearls. He is the man. I have to say his Hong Kong office is a delight to deal with and the pearls drill like a dream. I don’t know what they use for nucleus but I wish every pearl farmer used the same.

Apology for absence

I offer today an abject apology to would be readers..in a whirl of Instagram, twitter and facebook my posting to this blog sadly slipped and slipped.

And I also apologise because this is going to be a bit of a rant. With a little time on my hands I spotted a pearl selling programme on a TV gem selling channel.

Can I please make very clear that these are grade D tahitians. This is not a perfect pearl.

tv selling tahitian pearl

Not round, not metallic and certainly not clean. note the huge flaws clearly visible on their studio demo pearl

What has me writing this is the claim that pearl professionals are buying these pearls. No-one who aspires to deal in decent pearls will be buying these . They are simply not good enough. Not good enough for Pearlescence certainly, and I sent these photos to a couple of pearl dealer friends and their comments cannot be included because readers are civilised people!

low quality tahitian pearl

Look at all the flaws on this poor pearl…And this was the studio pearl

It got worse. This was held to be perfect, just a few marks. ‘Worth Bond Street’.

 

Supposedly a pair. Different size and colour

Different size and different colour. ‘Great pair’

Our Tahitian pearls may indeed be dearer, but I would not even look at pearls of this low quality in a wholesalers in Hong Kong, let alone pretend to you that they were the best possible. Yes, our pearls are dearer. But these show you why.

(They’ve moved on to south sea pearls now, but I’m too cross to watch!)