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The secret of blue pink pearl

There are some pearls that amaze a pearl cultivator with a 50-years history.
It is not just a flower bead or a bead over 10mm.
It is the “Blue Pink Pearl” that only those in the know know .
Even at a pearl farm, the probability of encountering one is only 0.3%.

It is no exaggeration to say that there are almost no distributions in the general market.
There are seven main points in producing such high-quality blue-pink pearls.

    1. The rich and optimal “sea”
    2. High-quality mother of pearls that nurture pearls
    3. "Peace shell" determines the color of the beads
    4. “Tailoring” affects 50% of pearl quality
    5. "Nuclear insertion" requires skilled technique
    6. “Management” to protect mother of pearls
    7. Final makeup “processing”

Now let's explain each one in a little more detail.

blue pink pearl

▲The center is a blue pink pearl. It is also said to be a ``pearl that shines in seven colors.'' The top is yellow gold, the right is pink, the bottom is blue, and the left is orange.

1.The rich and optimal "sea"

The back of Kushima in the Uwa Sea
▲The back of Kushima in the Uwa Sea

The fishing ground used by Yamashita Pearl, Kushimaura in the Uwa Sea, is recognized by everyone as the best fishing ground . In the sea, where there is a lot of food (phytoplankton), there are many other animals as well, so the mother mollusk, the Akoya mollusk, gets dirty. In other words, the sea that takes more care is the better sea.

Specifically, the optimal sea conditions are as follows.

- Phytoplankton should be abundant and suitable types - Water temperature should be suitable for pearl making (water temperature should fall moderately in winter and rise moderately in summer)

The Uwa Sea is flooded by rapid currents (the highly transparent and oligotrophic Kuroshio Current from the Pacific Ocean) on a somewhat regular basis, and when sunlight reaches the ocean floor, phytoplankton on the ocean floor germinates. When the cold tide from the continental shelf (which is rich in minerals and other nutrients necessary for phytoplankton) enters the ocean, it instantly turns into an ocean rich in phytoplankton. At the same time, zooplankton increases and other small animals become active. Furthermore, the eutrophic water flowing from the mountains through rivers maintains a rich fishing ground in the Uwa Sea.

It is because of this rich ocean that Uwajima boasts the highest level of pearl cultivation in Japan .
Of course, it's not just the quantity. In terms of quality, Uwajima pearls have a naturally pink color that is a sign of high quality. In addition, there are enough "rolls" due to the abundance of food . And compared to other fishing grounds, the blue color is easier to see .

2.high-quality mother oysters(Akoya oysters)that nurturepearls.

Today, Akoya shellfish are mainly produced by crossing domestic shellfish with non-native shellfish species, commonly known as ``hybrid shellfish.'' For hybrid shellfish, each hatchery company uses its own technology and information to select parent shells and hatch them. There are as many as 40 types.

Mother shell companies purchase and grow the types that are considered to be of high quality. Mother shell companies purchase only about half of the young shellfish and ship them to pearl companies . The rest do not reach the shipping size, die on the way, or are deformed. Furthermore, if the young shellfish purchased are of inferior quality, the number of shipments will decrease even more. In other words, by the time a young oyster is carefully selected as a mother oyster for pearl farming, the probability is already less than 50%.

▲Mother of pearls, Akoya oysters

3."Peace shell"determines the color of the beads.

To make pearls, it is necessary to surgically insert a nucleus (a rounded freshwater shell) and fragments of pearl-forming cells into the mother oyster, the Akoya oyster. The color of a pearl is largely determined by which type of shellfish cells are used . You can get 20 to 30 pieces from one piece shell, so it has a huge impact on the overall performance.

4."Tailoring"affects 50% of PearlBeans quality.

Tailoring refers to the process of raising Akoya shellfish, from purchasing them to putting in the core. Make the legs soft, eliminate eggs, and weaken them moderately. This adjustment accounts for more than 50% of the requirements for producing high-quality pearls .

Pearl farmers are not only experts in pearls, but also in Akoya shellfish .

5."Nuclear insertion" requires skilled technique.

Nucleus insertion is the surgical insertion of a small nucleus or fragment into the mother oyster. Yamashita Pearl carries out core insertion work from April to June. This is because the fishing grounds on the back of the Kushima Islands are best suited for work at that time of year. If the location changes slightly, the methods, timing, and suitable shellfish will also change.

In addition, the technique of encasing the pearl itself is a major factor in producing high-quality pearls . Even if the conditions up to point 4 are met, if you don't have the skill to insert the core, you won't be able to make good beads.

pearl core holder
▲Pearl core holder

6."Management" to protect mother oysters.

The shellfish that have undergone the nucleus insertion process are left to quietly cure for about a month to recover from their wounds. After that, they are sorted into coarse nets and moved to the fishing grounds behind Kushima Island. This work is called ``okidashi.''

When Yamashita Pearl is taken out to sea, X-rays are used to screen out whether the nucleus is in the correct position, and if the shellfish is in the wrong position, the nucleus is removed and disposed of. ).

After being taken out to sea, once a week we use dynamic jetting (to blow away dirt using water pressure) or saline water (to sterilize the net by soaking it in saturated concentrated salt water). Take it out and clean it. Many people think that they can just hang it in the ocean, but that is not the case at all.

Also, be careful of high water temperatures in the summer and the large amount of plankton that are unsuitable for Akoya oysters, and when making Etsumono pearls, take precautions to protect the mother oysters from damage caused by the scorching temperatures and low water temperatures in winter. It is necessary to constantly check the state of the sea .

By clearing these points, the number of pearls that can be harvested as current (one year) pearls is approximately half of the number of pearls purchased . When it comes to KOSHIMONO (2-year-old) pearls, the number of pearls that can be landed is even lower, at 30-40% . Additionally, about 10% of the pearls landed are first grade , about 40% are second grade, about 40% are third grade, and about 10% are unsaleable. And when it comes to the miraculous blue-pink pearl, only about 10% of it can be removed . In other words, even though Yamashita Pearl procures more than 100,000 mother oysters, only about 500 first-class blue-pink pearls can be found each year, making them extremely valuable pearls.

cleaning mother shellfish
▲Cleaning the mother shell

7.Final makeup "processing"

From the time pearls are caught ashore to the time they reach consumers, they are processed with chemicals and are given what some would call cosmetics. Of course, just because you can make various adjustments through processing, that doesn't mean that any bead will turn out beautifully.

If the original pearl is not of good quality, it will not be a high quality pearl. Each manufacturer has their own method for this processing technology, and it is also a trade secret. At Yamashita Pearl, we make the most of the natural color of pearls and mainly offer pearls without color toning.

First, we predict the progress of machining and the finished product, and then select and drill holes accordingly. There are two types of holes: single hole (a type that does not go through, used for brooches, rings, and earrings), and double hole (a type that goes through, mainly used for necklaces). At this time, the rate of machining loss changes depending on where the hole is drilled, so location selection is important.

Next, remove the stain. Deep-fried pearls contain impurities called stains inside. These stains are removed by soaking them in chemicals. Next, perform the floating beads. Pearls that have been fried from the beach have a slightly cream-colored color due to the yellow conchiolin (protein) that connects the crystals, and are bleached to make the base white.

The types of chemicals used for stain removal and bleaching, the proportions of the mixture, temperature control, etc. are top secrets, and each company has undergone repeated tests and improvements to improve them. Our goal is to create a finish that has as little loss as possible, is gentle on pearls, deteriorates slowly after processing, is beautiful, and is cost-effective.

Then, adjust the colors. Generally, pink is preferred, but pink is actually a color that can be adjusted to some extent through processing . On the other hand, blue cannot be colored through processing unless it contains the pearl itself . That's why when professionals choose pearls, they focus on blue, not pink. If there is a blue-pink bead that has not been color-adjusted, it is a very valuable bead that would be sought after by aquaculturists .

Freshly landed pearls
▲Pearls freshly caught on the beach


Unfortunately, in recent years, misinformation about pearls has become widespread among consumers. Of these, the one that causes the most misunderstanding is the issue of ``Hanadama pearls'' that come with a certificate of identification from a certain pearl identification organization, which is often seen in mail-order pearl sales on the Internet, TV, and newspapers.

Even pearls that would be obvious to a pearl professional at a glance that they are not of high quality are being touted as ``highest quality'' and ``flower beads.'' Although industry organizations such as the Japan Pearl Promotion Association have issued warnings regarding this issue, the current situation is that the public has not yet been made aware of this issue. ( Click here for information on the flower beads issue, which the Japan Pearl Promotion Association also calls attention to. )

Because these beads are a symbol of the pride of the pearl cultivator Yamashita Pearl and the prestige of the Futoshi Pearl Collection brand , they are subjected to more rigorous identification than in the general market.

Originally, "Hanadama", which has been used for many years in the pearl industry, is a term that refers to "the highest quality of Akoya hama-age pearls", and is not a term used for commercialized Akoya pearls. .

In recent years, Akoya pearls of various quality that have been commercialized without a unified industry quality standard have been treated as "Hanadama" in the market, and are called "Hanadama identification" issued by a classification organization. Some of these items are clearly different from the meaning of ``Hanadama'' that has been used in the pearl industry for some time, and some identification organizations even use the term ``Hanadama'' to include white pearls and black pearls. I am using the name.

Japan Pearl Promotion Association
Pearl Promotion Committee

▲Pearl quality guarantee


Typically, pearl retailers purchase finished frames, attach pearls, and sell them. Therefore, all stores carry products with similar designs.

On the other hand, at Yamashita-Pearl, Futoshi Yamashita, who is also a jewelry designer, handles everything from designing, manufacturing frames, mounting pearls, and selling, so there are many unique and highly original pieces that you won't find anywhere else. .

INSP208 Octopus
A ring with an improved design based on the octopus ring that won the pearl design contest category prize. Learn more about INSP208 Octopus

About delivery date

Due to the rarity of blue pink pearls and to maintain quality, we only sell a limited number of them in small quantities every month. Also, due to the characteristics of our products, we have many one-of-a-kind products. If you need an item by a specific date, please place your order early.
If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact us.

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