I've wanted to buy pearls from Kojima Company for ages, but either someone jumps on what I'm eying or the price is not within reach. (Shown, exquisite Kasumis, $8,300.)
But last week Kojima posted this endless 50 inch strand of "pondslime doublet keishis", and I thought, oooh.
These are not the pearls your parents gave you for your graduation.
Keishis (also spelled keshi) are, as a Tiffany saleswoman once told me, "an extra gift from the oyster", formed while it ejects an implanted nucleus (which is how cultured pearls are made).
Keishis can form in either fresh or saltwater pearls, so an accurate description indicates the pearl type as well, such as "Chinese freshwater keishi". Because keishis don't have that nucleus to guide the shape, they are 100% nacre, and never spherical. That solid nacre lends lustre and shimmering surface (orient) that beats even the finest cultured nucleated pearls.
Occasionally they form in spikes, like these "spikey pondslime keshis", which I call "punk pearls", $65 for a 16 inch temporary strand.
"Pondslime" refers to the rich natural colours (taupe, rose, lavender, green-gold) that occur in some freshwater pearls. Once obliterated with dark dye by Chinese pearl processors, they are now desirable.
Keishis also come in white, if that's your preference. Here's a full, lustrous 17.5 inch necklace, each pearl is about 15mm-16mm long; $210.
Formerly bargains, keishis are now more costly, especially in Tahitian and South Sea varieties. At Canada's carriage-trade jeweler, Birks, I saw a strand of dove grey Tahitian keishis, perfectly matched, for $25,000. (Stunning, overpriced.)
All pearls are lovable; a classic strand of Akoyas or Chinese freshwaters is a timeless, versatile adornment, often the first pearls received. Shown, Tiffany 18 inch 7-7.5mm white pearl necklace, white gold clasp, $5,000.
And those sumptuous, huge South Sea and Tahitians? Breathtaking as a Dior ballgown (and about as likely to grace my wardrobe).
But my passion these days is bumply baroques, funky keishis, off-rounds, coins or sticks that flash rainbow iridescence. So here come my new pearls, which cost $170.
May I tantalize you with a few more remarkable pearls from Kojima? The strand I bought is now sold out, but there are many more marvelous choices. Or if you have a pearl dream, contact Sarah Canizzaro, Kojima's friendly owner, and she'll help you. She's passionate about pearls too!
Gold, peach and pink South Sea and petal pearl 17 inch necklace, $713. A not-too-pricey route to some South Sea beauties on your neck.
Exceptionally lustrous round to semi-round Kamoka (Tahitian) black pearl 16.5 inch temporary strand, 9.2 to 9.5mm, $2,390. Dreamy.
10.3mm Tahitian pearl and pink tourmaline ring, set in silver, size 6, $150.
Happy Valentine's, anyone?