Our work begins a long before pearls are processed into jewelry.
Cultured pearls that are harvested from the Akoya pearl oysters are, firstly, sorted before putting them up for bid at auctions.
In the process of sorting, we sometimes find a pearl that catches our eye with its outstanding beauty, among many pearls.
It has a strong shine, natural color and shape.
The pure, untouched pearl will be reborn to be the only-one-jewelry
that nobody has ever seen before while maintaining its pureness as much as when it was harvested.
Cultured pearls have various characteristics and come in a wide range of colors, shapes, glows and sizes.These pearls are sorted according to the criteria in size, quality and the like. Then, they are sold to pearl processing companies through auctions, where the pearls are processed. Through the “stain removal process”, “toning process” and so on, their original color will turn to pink which is typically seen, and they are distributed to the market.
For pearls to be sold at auctions, uniformed pearls are desirable in terms of “color”, “shape” and “glow” to some extent. For the reason, sorting is done accordingly. As a result, similar pearls are sold at the auction venues. For that reason, pearls having individuality were processed in the same method together with such uniformed pearls. Their individuality had been buried without being given an opportunity to express their charms and true values.
We had failed to notice it, either.
All the pearl culture farmers had focused on growing pearls that were likely to be highly priced at auctions, and sorted for the purpose of listing at auctions.
In 1957, the founder and my grandfather, Nobunori began seedlings of pearl oysters used in pearl farming in Uwajima City, Ehime Prefecture. From here, the history of Doi Pearl has started.
In 1987, my father, Hidenori launched the pearl processing and sales division, which is another pillar of Doi Pearl, and began direct selling of pearls.
In 2007, we began “Pearl Farming Experience Tour”, through which we have provided guidance on pearls using our active pearl farms to visitors to Uwajima city.
These are commented often by the tour participants:
“I learnt that pearls are not just pink but there have various colors”, “I saw pearls in such colors for the first time”, “This projection looks cute”. This comment is also often heard: “I love this stain on this pearl.”
We are lucky that we have had many opportunities to directly interact with customers through such tours and our pearl direct retail stores. Our point of view which we had been stubbornly maintained for decades has gradually been softened by the voice of customers. We also learned that customer needs are diverse.
Another thing that was fortunate was that we have collected those little pearls that will later be used as new products. My mother, Kyoko who was in charge of sorting of pearls has collected pearls that are out of the standard for a long time. These pearls were not used for anything. They have been kept in a bag, without holes being drilled.
“Why don’t we make products with these pearls?”
These words came out of the mouth naturally.
We saw customers’ reactions soon.
When these pearls were processed into jewelry and displayed inside the store, they began to demonstrate their individuality.
Many customers visit our store seeking unusual items that can only be available from our store. Some customers were looking at products for a long time without saying a word, while some customers tilted their head. It seems that they were trying to figure out why those products looked different.
They told us that they have never seen such pearls before.
Each pearl is born with a varied individuality when it was harvested from the shell.
It is the same as a human being. No two things are the same.
I do not mean to deny pink pearls.
Pink pearls are very beautiful. Especially necklaces made from pink pearls, the unchanged classic design of which has been loved by people all over the world for over 100 years. I believe that this classic design is an important factor to continuously deliver the charms of pearls to the world.
In order to make a necklace that emits ever-lasting charms, it is better that the pearls have fewer variations in the quality of each pearl bead, which can improve the appearance of the strand of pearls. With the progress of technology such as artificial seedlings of Akoya oysters, it is now possible to produce pearls of similar quality in terms of color, radiance and the like. Thus, the quality of necklaces has highly improved. But as it is inversely proportional to such successful achievement, pearls with individuality have become rarely available.
There are two types of Akoya pearls that are produced in Japan, i.e., those harvested in one year and those in two years. The most important element to determine the value of a pearl is “nacre thickness”, and it is very important that this nacre thickness is larger. The longer the cultivation period is, the larger the nacre thickness becomes, in principle. Though the nacre thickness is larger in two-year pearls than that of one-year pearls, the variance of the quality becomes larger. Basically, it is easier to use one-year pearls for necklaces because one-year pearls have less variance in quality, although there are individual differences. However, Doi Pearl has been making efforts to produce more two-year pearls, in order to produce higher quality pearls. Along the way, more pearls with individuality are generated.
In winter, the temperature of the sea is falling, which is the best season for harvesting pearls. Low water temperatures cause the nacreous that covers the surface of the pearl to be tightened, which develops a shine in the pearls. Out of the tens of thousands of pearls harvested during the harvesting period, only a few tens of pearls with individuality are obtained.
They have a strong value of “one of a kind” which is one of the charms of jewelry.
We can finally introduce such unexceptional pearls with confidence to everybody.
From its pure, untouched state, we named them “UBUDAMA”.