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  1. #1
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member mausketeer's Avatar
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    Default Japanese Kasumi vs. Chinese "Look-a-likes"

    Sorry if this has been asked a million times but I've tried going back over old threads and haven't seen a lot of information about these two pearls. Can someone give me more information? I know the Kasumi comes from only ONE lake (hence the name of course) and I think there are only three farmers currently producing them? (is that right?) Now for the Chinese pearls, are they from the same species of mussel? From what I've seen, they might not look exactly like the Kasumi pearls, but many of them are just AMAZINGLY beautiful in their own right. So...... does the price difference just reflect the rarity of the Japanese pearls? I mean, I've seen Kasumi strands priced at over $10,000 and Chinese of comparable size and colour (with gorgeous overtones and lustre) at just around $1,000. The disparity strikes me as rather odd. Is it just a matter of time before the Chinese prices go UP?

    thanks to everyone in advance for all your knowledge!

    - Jodie -
    "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
    - Lucy Maude Montgomery -

  2. #2
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Hi
    The chinese prices are probably fairly stable and the supply is growing. I don't know if the mussels are related and I have never been able to compare them side by side, but from photos, the resemblance is remarkable.
    Incidentally I picked up several strands of unusual white semi round big pearls last month too, and only when I got them home realised they are ringers for south seas (not totally fab south seas but pretty good impersonation)

  3. #3
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert KarinK's Avatar
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    Hi Jodie,

    I think you've got all the facts right. I saw a strand of Kasumis next to a strand of Chinese look-a-likes this summer. I wish I could say I could tell the difference, but apart I don't think I would be able to. So from what I know - as a mere amateur! - I would say that it is the rarity factor that gives the high prices on the Kasumis.

    I have no idea if the Chinese production will increase. I will venture a guess that the market for Kasumi-like pearls is limited. But from what I heard from the experts this summer (Josh, Pattey and Marianne), the quality of the Chinese pearls has been getting steadily better.

    - Karin

  4. #4
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Nerida's Avatar
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    It is important to note that the Chinese aren't growing these pearls to be Kasumi lookalikes, in fact most of the vendors of these pearls probably wouldn't know much about the Kasumi pearls at all. The market for the Chinese pearls is based on their stand alone appeal, not the resemblance to Kasumi pearls as such. The Chinese growers grade them separately due to their surface texture, but as always, would rather they be smooth surfaced. As the general production of nucleated freshwaters continues to improve, there will be less of the textured surfaced pearls amongst their harvests.

  5. #5
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert KarinK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerida View Post
    It is important to note that the Chinese aren't growing these pearls to be Kasumi lookalikes, in fact most of the vendors of these pearls probably wouldn't know much about the Kasumi pearls at all. The market for the Chinese pearls is based on their stand alone appeal, not the resemblance to Kasumi pearls as such. The Chinese growers grade them separately due to their surface texture, but as always, would rather they be smooth surfaced. As the general production of nucleated freshwaters continues to improve, there will be less of the textured surfaced pearls amongst their harvests.
    Very interesting! Thank you.

    - Karin

  6. #6
    Pearl Designer & Collector Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    I have necklaces of both the Japanese Kasumi and the Chinese Wrinklies which look for all the world like the Japanese Kasumi. I could not tell them apart if I had not bought them ages apart from different sources and know which is which.

    I believe the quality to probably be the same. Just that the Japanese pearls will become rarer and we are not sure about the production of the Chinese pearls. Both are extremely beautiful.

    Really I don't see anything wrong with with sellers calling the Chinese pearls Chinese or China Kasumi look-a-likes. When a buyer is looking for them that is what they will look for. I know for years before I found some of the Chinese recently I would type in Kasumi + Chinese to try and find them. There doesn't seem to be any intention to trick customers from what I can see. If there was why wouldn't the seller try and pass them off as the real Japanese Kasumi for a much higher price.

    I have Japanese Kasumi pearls listed and intend to list my Chinese look-a-likes soon and will put in that they look like Kasumi. It makes sense and is NOT dishonest. To do so only helps the customers who are looking for them find them. I will make sure thought that they are the Chinese look-a-likes and not the Kasumis from Japan.

    As far as the Chinese pearl price going up I do think they will. Already the prices do seem to be going up.

    Dawn - Bodecia
    http://stores.ebay.com/Dawns-Designer-Collections
    Natural pearl collector and all round pearl lover.

  7. #7
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member mausketeer's Avatar
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    Interesting! Thanks everyone! You're all so knowledgeable, I just love being on here learning, learning, learning....... Hmmm, so if they are actively trying to get them smoother and smoother then I should jump on some nice ones NOW while they're still around with all the imperfections, I guess? (I loved both Kasumi and the Chinese pearls as soon as I saw them without knowing anything about them........ I just love the natural organic quality).

    Well I think I found some for a good price. They even have "pond slime" overtones. What do you think? They aren't quite as metallic as some others I've seen but gee, the price is right! ($316)

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    - Jodie -
    Last edited by mausketeer; 10-18-2011 at 07:16 PM.
    "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
    - Lucy Maude Montgomery -

  8. #8
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert KarinK's Avatar
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    Hi Jodie,

    From the little I know they don't look quite like Kasumi, but I get that it is not your point. If you love them, and you can find the money - buy them

    - Karin

  9. #9
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member mausketeer's Avatar
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    Well I can ALWAYS find the money Karin - it's called VISA! lol Yeah, it's just that general "wild, bumpy, open surface" look that I love - Kasumi or not....... (I wonder if it's because they look sort of like they're made of CANDY? I love candy!) And there's a shape I really love that's a bit rounder than flameball but not quite as round as well, round!
    "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
    - Lucy Maude Montgomery -

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    I've seen a lot of them in China and at the shows recently. They can be inexpensive or quite expensive depending on a number of factors. Peach Pearl was selling them for $500 a strand in Vegas (but offered a discount if all were purchased), and some with poor nacre and mediocre luster were available for around $100 in the China pavilion at the same show. The really nice strands have great color, metallic luster and fully formed nacre. The strands are interesting but I haven't bit yet.

    Pure Pearls carries some of the Kasumi-style pearls now too.

  11. #11
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert KarinK's Avatar
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    Jodie, Sarah at Kojima Pearls also have some: http://shop.kojimapearl.com/products...-ripple-pearls. There would be enough for both necklace, braclet and earrings. I am sure she could help you out if you are not a beader (don't remember).

    Oooh, so much fun to help other people spend their money Great outlet in liue of hitting my 10 year son over the head to finally make him sleep or finally writing my 500 words of the day...

    - Karin

  12. #12
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Only dawn has compared them side by side and she says there is little or no difference. That seems clear enough

  13. #13
    Pearl Girl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Ashley's Avatar
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    Yeah we picked up a few, 8 in fact while at the Vegas show- really intense metallic gold overtones, pink to peachy colors with hints of lavender- they're huge, 10-13.5mm or so, AAA Quality. I LOVE the texture of these pearls- they're really unique looking, and I keep getting them out the box to play with lol.

    We're just now getting around to putting them up on the site (summer's been crazier than normal happily), and an email blast should go out any day now. We've only got these 8 on hand, so it's first come, first served... I hope they do ok, I did a lot of talking to get Bruce on board@!
    Ashley McNamara, CEO
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  14. #14
    Pearl Girl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Ashley's Avatar
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    Here's a pic of ours- we're calling them Kasumi-Style Chinese Freshwater Baroques
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    Ashley McNamara, CEO
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  15. #15
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    The best Kasumi pearls are round and smooth. Sarah might be one of only 3 or so outlets for the genuine Kasumis, so she is far more expert than most on subject. She has handled both Japanese Kasumi and and has an eye for Chinese pearls that achieve similar effects. Both Japanese and Chinese producers are going for the round, smooth look, so these wrinkly ones could get more rare.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

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