This is beginning to feel like an annual event - a new type of pearl is making its way out of China.
Many are familiar with large, bead-nucleated pearls, often called Edison or Ming pearls. One of the most impressive things about those pearls is their size. They are huge. They are also very colorful. But they are huge.
The reason is simple. They are grown within the organ of a mussel, so one shell can really only handle one implant. Farmers typically sell their harvests by weight, so a larger pearl means larger profit.
One thing has eluded farmers for years: A method to grow a pearl in the mantle, the traditional way, with a bead and produce a perfectly-round pearl. But not anymore!
Farmers have now perfected growing bead-nucleated pearls in the mantle of a host mussel. This means individual shells can grow as many as 10 pearls at a time. This also means smaller beads are used and the resulting pearls are smaller. The strands in these images are only 8.5-9.0 mm.
These new pearls are just starting to arrive on the market, and we will likely see a lot more availability in the coming years.
More than anything else, the colors are what set these pearls apart. They have the same intense colors we've come to appreciate from their larger, bead-nucleated cousins. Finding traditional freshwater pearls with intensely saturated purple and pink colors was like searching for a strand of needles in a haystack. These new pearls scream saturation.
Watch for these in the coming months and years. These are going to be special!