Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pearls Just Wanna Have fun -- Shenzhen  

Haha I cracked myself up with that title, literally laugh out loud singing "Peaaarls just wannna, just waannaaaaaaaaahhhh aaahhhh" Ok, ok so it's not clever or anything but I really couldn't think of an alternative title. What, like something informative? "Guide to pearls in Shenzhen"? Yeah sure, like that's funny. Or as I have been saying "Hirarious" (Look @ Communist Spongebob).

Anyway, I made a trip up to my mom's place yesterday to paw through some of my jewelry that lives up there. Most everything that's up there is either very expensive, or things I no longer wear. So I spent the day up there sorting jewelry that could be used for other purposes when I suddenly stumbled upon two pearl necklaces I purchased a couple years ago. When I first moved to Asia the prospect of fake Louis Vuitton bags and pearls were more than I could fathom. Now I laugh in the face of brand name fakes, I shop for designer clothes that have "fallen off the back of the truck", and buy natural stones. Regardless of my shopping evolution, pearls are timeless pieces of jewelry that every woman should own.

I paid $400HKD for these about three years ago.

The black strand I had a choice of more round pearls or these more oval/flat ones. The difference was that the round ones had a purple/iridescent sheen to them, I ended up choosing these because I thought they were so unique and have an almost green hue to them. After choosing them the woman in the shop strung every pearl by hand, knotting each pearl into place.

This is very important! If you get pearls made, INSIST to them that they restring the pearls and string them with a knot system. This way if the necklace breaks one pearl will fall off instead of loosing an entire strand. True story, has happened to me on a few occasions.

I purchased these at the same time, they were also about $400HKD

The white pearls are much more traditional, I chose these based on how they felt. In Shenzhen you will be faced with many pearl options, good quality pearls are natural and smooth to the touch. I liked how these look with my skintone, not too pink but not too yellow. Always think about that when buying natural pearls. If you have yellow undertones in your skin (olive/tan) yellow pearls will look great against your skin. If you have pink undertones (fair/burn easily), pink will look much better. Of course, you can always find artificial true white pearls - they look good with everything!

When you go to Shenzhen always remember buyer beware, I have on numerous occasions been ripped off or fallen for the bait-n-switch routine. Last time this was pulled on me it was quite elaborate, but I immediately knew what happened and threw the biggest tantrum in the world. With pearls they may show you natural pearls and then when they go to string them (takes about 20 min) they could possibly switch them out for cheap fakes. Obviously in SZ when I say fakes I mean really good fakes, but fakes are CHEAP, real pearls can be EXPENSIVE. So don't go up there, pay for the real thing & get ripped off! A handy trick I learned was to rub the surface of the pearl against your teeth - if its smooth you have yourself a fake. If you feel a gritty rubbing against your teeth, you've got the real deal!

A double strand of colored freshwater pearls paid $50HKD 3 years ago

There is also a variety of irregularly shaped freshwater pearls, these are really cute to wear casually. The jewelry market on the 3rd floor has a special area that is nothing but pearls, here you will find similar pearls in all shapes, sizes, and colors. I have giant tooth-shaped pearls, to little oddly shaped ones like these - there really is no limit to what you can find in there. For these types of pearls I would pay no more than $100HKD and really expect to pay no less than $30HKD. These are cheap, and obviously the more you buy the cheaper each necklace gets. I always buy about 10 of them and keep them in a box for all sorts of occasions.

On the third floor you will find tons of pearl stores, no one is particularly better than the other and they have a tendency of disappearing. Really the best option is to shop around, find pearls you like, check the price, get the store's card and keep shopping. Then after you've checked out a couple stores go back to the one with the best price! I have never left a pearl store really liking something and was unable to find it anywhere else. Pearls are pretty widespread and prices are competitive!

Hehe yes, I also found my old Canon Rebel XT at my mom's house - finally some decent quality photos!!

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