Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17
  1. #1
    Casey.R
    Guest

    Default Whats so special about Biwa pearls and....

    Which pearls were affected by the blue blight and when?

    I know Lake Biwa produced freshwater pearls that for some reason everyone talks about and that the lake became polluted and it's no longer used for pearl farming. But I've never actually seen any. Not even in photos. what were the characteristics of them?

  2. #2
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    near Tucson AZ
    Posts
    8,828

    Default

    Do a Google image search for lake biwa pearls ..
    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.

  3. #3
    Valeria101
    Guest

    Default

    A search... right... Just tried, but there are tons of fakies called 'Biwa' because of the shape. I am a bit young to know what the original production looked like first hand.

  4. #4
    Casey.R
    Guest

    Default

    Thats what I found too, fakes. No real information or pics.

  5. #5
    pattye
    Guest

    Default

    Hi All,

    The Strack book has pages 405-417 lots of info about Lake Biwa and its pearls, including numerous photos. Strack compares the colors to those of today's freshwaters--with pink and orange, violet, browns, whites and creams. Many of the photos look like the high quality freshwater keishi pearls we can purchase today, good lustre, irregular surface, somewhat flattened. There were a few rounds produced using mop nucleus, but most used epithelium tissue implant. Varying the size of the implant allowed production of "sometimes bizarre, fancy shapes, ......bars, double bars, cross-over bars, crosses, dragons, sticks, buttons, triangles, butterflies, shapes with a jagged outline, letters of the alphabet, etc," to quote Elizabeth Strack. This is how the bar and stick pearls and so many others came to be called biwa pearls, a usage which she says is now generally accepted.

    Pattye
    so many pearls, so little time

  6. #6
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    near Tucson AZ
    Posts
    8,828

    Default

    The book..... $136 or so iincluding postage. If you are at all serious, invest in a copy.

    BTW the pictures on page 414 show nucleation with mantle tissue. This same process is what happens by accident for natural pearls...
    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.

  7. #7
    First-graft Pearl Mandy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    145

    Default

    I think I've only purchased one strand of stick-like pearls before from a bead show back home in Oklahoma. They wern't naturally colored though (they were dyed a dark green). This was back before I knew the history of Lake Biwa or Biwa pearls really but their shape and the way colors played off the pearls is what got my mom and I to purchase some! I think the stick/rectangular shaped pearls can some extra consideration when incorporating them into jewelry; at least that's how I always approached them. I always found it a bit tricky dealing with shapes ourside of circles and ovals.

    Hopefully, when I get the time, I'll incorporate them into a necklace project I had in mind to use those pearls with some oval-shaped "lava stone" I got as well.
    Last edited by Mandy; 05-04-2007 at 06:47 PM.
    ~Mandy
    A semi-serious beader with a newfound love for pearls

  8. #8
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    1,842

    Default

    We've had some Biwas discovered by our wonderful vendors recently. My questions are, how rare are Biwas now? How difficult it is to uncover a strand? Terry had some Biwas a bit ago and now Sarah has some Biwa keishis. The reason I ask is, American Pearl has a necklace and bracelet set they are touting as Biwa. How can they have unlimited stock of these? By the by, the photos I posted the link to earlier, in my opinion (which is worth nothing) I don't think are Biwas. http://www.americanpearl.com/fwbbr04w.html
    Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Marina del Rey, CA
    Posts
    5,760

    Default

    I don't personally see the value, especially considering the use of the Biwa Pearly mussel in China now. There is now no difference, except the Chinese pearls are better quality than what the Biwa once were.

    The bracelet on American Pearl is not necessarily a Biwa. If you check the technical information, none of it matches. It states origin is China, that would mean it is not Biwa. It does state Hyriopsis schlegeli (sic) which is the Biwa mussel, but in China there would be no differentiation.

    The technical info might not actually even be related to the product, however, because it also states lavender (the pearls are white), shape is Biwa nugget (???), nacre is thick (not related to freshwater) and surface is clean (photo shows something completely different).

  10. #10
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    near Tucson AZ
    Posts
    8,828

    Default

    So his akoyas are from Japan and his Biwas are from China? I know the akoyas grown in Japan part is inaccurate The technical info is also quite wrong. Not much improvement there.

    Also, it is the slowest loading site I have come across on the net, if I were shopping, I would have skipped it after my first reload attempt. It took 2 reloads to get the images to come up. I like that lobster clasp though.
    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.

  11. #11
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    1,842

    Default

    Thanks, Jeremy. I didn't read that far. But getting back to my question, how rare are Biwas?
    Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]

  12. #12
    Professional Rethreader Senior Guide Member Bernadette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    354

    Default

    Theres plenty out there - but the trick is that those who have them mostly dont know what it is that they have - and then theres the imposters calling things Biwa that shouldnt.

    I have a few strands from back when they where accessible





    Personally - I really dislike the current trend\practice of naming various freshwater pearls as "Biwa" - to me, if they werent grown in Japan - in Lake Biwa then they shouldnt be named as such (same as you cant call it Champagne - unless its grown and produced in the area designated as Champagne - even if it "is" the same grape)

  13. #13
    Administrator Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    172

    Default

    It is the same as calling dyed FW Tahitians

  14. #14
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    1,842

    Default

    Those are beautiful, Bernadette! Size of pearl, length of strand, how old are they, where did you get them ... details! Don't leave me panting!
    Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]

  15. #15
    Professional Rethreader Senior Guide Member Bernadette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    354

    Default

    Hello Knotty - they are from the mid 80's

    The pearl size in the first image is ~5 pearls per inch - in the second it is 11 Pearls per inch - they where sourced through a Sydney wholesaler that just like original Biwa's has passed on into history - believe it or not those strands arent as good as the strand my Sister has - she took the pick of the bunch at the time and doesnt realise what she has got

    The first strands are 16 inch (its made into a double row of 16") - the other one is 25 inches (have to admit - its broken - anyone know a good threader - one of these days. . . )

    They actually look much better in the flesh - then in the photo's