Pearl Paradise The Internet's Largest Collection of Fine Pearls - Shop Now! 80% Off Retail. Free Returns. Free Shipping. A+ Rating on BBB.

Unconfigured Ad Widget

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Biwa

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #31
    Hi there, very interesting to read this thread, Caitlin thank you a lot for sharing your deep knowledge.
    These Biwa pearls I bought on eBay from the USA, probably someone will recognise it.
    The seller says they have been purchased in Japan, wich sounds authentic considering the 14K Gold clasp with Japanese script on it. I like them, you see the difference to the most "Biwa pearls" in beads quality.
    Attached Files

    Comment


    • #32
      That kind of necklace is the mainstay of the high end "biwa" pearls. That is a wonderful clasp!

      I learned something else after I wrote the little history above. I picked up on a fact I overlooked previously. Apparently Dr. Masao Fujita quit Mikimoto in a huff (though his brother stayed with Mikimoto for life- and they were both pearl pioneers). And that is Miimoto never recognized the freshwater pearls industry to the day he died. He never took a cut or marketed them either. Fujita's pearl heirs had to market them just as Fujita had before WWII. So, Lake Biwa farmers/exporters bought all the Chinese pearls themselves and mixed them with their crop, themselves and marketed them separately from all other Japanese pearls.

      Those days are past, but is is worth noting that Fujita and his "Pearl heirs" were not part of mainstream Japanese pearl marketing and exports.Then in 1972, China revealed they had been growing the Biwa pearls, but they started selling independently of Japan. I doubt the diamond policy ever even included the freshwater pearls.And of course it didn't matter, because no one but China is growing (significant amounts of) the Lake Biwa mussels any more and the mussel itself is now usually a cross between the Lake Biwa mussel, and the hardier Chinese species of same.Once China quit exporting to Japan, the Biwa market, which had begun its fatal decline already, no longer even had much of a crop without the Chinese pearls being added.

      Back then, the standards and ethics about pearl origins were not in existence.
      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.

      Comment


      • #33
        PS. The Diamond Policy was Japan's 'trade agreement' for growing pearls outside of Japan. It dictated that the foreign farmer provide all the capital, and hire only Japanese technicians. The Japanese would hold all the technical knowledge and were not allowed to share or teach it, and all the product would be marketed through Japan. This agreement ruled for decades, though at least one pesky Australian (C Dennis George) refused to honor it and learned how to graft himself. Japanese in turn, hounded him from farm to farm as he spread his illegal knowledge across Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. George's defense was that an Australian was the REAL inventor of the whole pearl and he had only stolen stolen knowledge. This was not exactly true, but you can read his treatise on the subject here on Pearl Guide. I recently wrote a rebuttal of his paper, so read his paper with a discerning eye.
        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.

        Comment


        • #34
          Caitlin, thanks a lot for this detailed review.
          You wrote previously :
          "...Meanwhile in China they began cultivating Biwa mussels in the 1960's. The Japanese bought the entire Chinese output, from the 1960's to the 70's, when China started marketing them. All new Biwas are from China since the 1980s. "

          If Biwas are from China since 1980s and my strang lookes like originated from the Lake Biwa, would it means that these pearls of my are from the 70s? Or is there still production on the Lake Biwa? In this case these pearls could be also junger.

          Comment


          • #35
            Your necklace was made in Japan, but there is no telling where the pearls originated.

            What I meant was it was always impossible to tell real Biwas from Chinese ones; they come from the same mussel and were sold through the same channels in Japan until China started marketing on their own. The new "biwas" on the market are Chinese because they no longer have an export market in Japan.

            "Biwa" is a sales term nowadays. You could probably assume they were always mostly Chinese Biwas since just a few years after WWII -and what few genuine Biwa-grown Biwas were mixed in with the Chinese impossible to sort on a visual or biological basis.

            Unless you have a pre-WWII nucleated Biwa pearl with a provenance, you probably had Chinese and Japanese-grown Biwas all mixed up until the 70's-80's, then nothing but Chinese since then. But you can't tell any of them apart by age unless they are strung with a a vintage clasp. It is a useless term.

            We should probably ignore the term altogether. It hardly ever did mean Biwas solely from Lake Biwa. We should describe by shape- rice shaped, rolled oats shape, etc
            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.

            Comment

            Working...
            X