Market Visit, Part III: Shopping at Pearl Paradise Offices

Ruckus attendees went to offices in LA for a private shopping event in the vault

On Sunday morning after Ruckus attendees checked out of the mansion, they headed to the offices for another unique buying opportunity. Inside, Hisano Shepherd opened the vault for the ladies, and several employees assisted them in finding more souvenirs of the weekend.


Hollowed out pearls about to be transformed into supercool geode-like pieces for Hisano’s little h jewelry

One woman with a pair of reddish pearls in hand told me she was adding to her cherry-color collection—a specific assortment I’d never considered collecting but can see the appeal of them—while another sorted through a box of freshwater soufflé pearls plucking out animal-like shapes. She held up one lustrous white baroque find, proclaiming it to be a “chocolate Easter bunny pearl” due to the familiar profile that is found in candy form in stores each spring. Another woman perusing a tray of Tahitian keshi strands told me that she bought more common pearls throughout the year but waited until this annual sale—with a 25 percent discount—to buy better goods. I buy my jewelry at trade shows at wholesale prices, but even I couldn’t resist a purchase! With member CathyKeshi’s amazing metallic freshwater strand—that she wore again that morning—top of mind, the New York City–based collector and I were moved to obtain our own. (Cathy insisted that she didn’t mind us knocking off her look!)


Metallic freshwaters that I was deciding between. I chose the top strand.

Hisano brought out several trays of metallic strands, and I scoured them for a strand as high polish in appearance as Kathy’s. I chose a couple, and a staffer instructed me to place both on top of a white index card to determine which one was shinier. With that selection made, I looked at both individual Fiji pearls in green and metallic freshwater soufflé pearls, deciding on a baroque metallic number to feature as a drop in the center of new my strand. I’ll create the necklace—I know how to knot and do a little wire wrapping—upon return home. I felt like what I was getting was a good value.


The metallic freshwater strand and metallic soufflé pearl drop that I bought as an homage to Kathy Keshi’s necklace.

I’ve never witnessed such a buying frenzy or a passion for a jewelry product! And it didn’t hurt that the staff were so knowledgeable and friendly. In fact, I think it’s this sort of interest and savvy that creates and keeps collectors coming back. If more jewelry-only retailers had such dedicated employees, then perhaps jewelry retail wouldn’t be in such sad state (data from the Jewelers Board of Trade reveal that jewelry-only stores contracted by nearly 13 percent last year).


The pearl-buying frenzy among consumers and invited guests to the 2016 Pearl Ruckus sponsored by took place in the company’s offices. 

So the Ruckus was a treat for me not only because pearls are my favorite jewelry category, but because I got to mingle with consumers who love them. Pearls are a small percentage—about five percent—of annual retail sales, but based on the variety available and the enthusiasm of existing collectors, there is room for the category to grow. Will you be part of this pearl movement?

The Style 360 blog is your editorial source for the newest jewelry, trends, market analysis, trade show insights, designer profiles, and more.

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