The Wide World of Pearls, Our 55th Issue: Hellllooooo, Hanadama!
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE … ALMOST
More then just high luster, true metallic luster is a very specific type of luster that appears to come from within the pearl, as opposed to just on the surface.
A single glance at this metallic luster is enough to show anybody why luster is such an all-important attribute for pearls. Whether it’s the mirror-like Hanadama Akoya, the regal South Sea pearls or a rare Metallic Freshwater pearl type, it is incredibly sharp, highly reflective and glossy LUSTER that makes these pearls capture the eye and makes the heart begin to race.
What is a “Hanadama” Pearl?
Japanese Hanadama Akoya pearls are hands-down the most lustrous pearls on the market. Loved for their intense mirror-like luster, iridescent “Aurora” effect, certified thick nacre depths and classic, timeless appeal, Hanadama Akoya pearls are one of the pearl world’s rarest pearls.
Hanadama Pearl Fast Facts
- Saltwater Pearl Type: Hanadama Akoya pearls are grown in the pinctada fucata martensii saltwater pearl oyster. The p. martensii oyster is native to the coastal waters of Japan and China, Vietnam and Myanmar (formerly Burma).
- Traditionally White Colors: Hanadama Akoya pearls most often feature a white body color, with classic overtones of rose, silver and cream. The only other color for Hanadama pearls is a natural, untreated Silver-Blue, and these certified pearls are called “Madama”.
- Rose Overtones are Most Common: The most prevalent overtone is rose, and this is where Hanadama pearls get their name! The term Hanadama is a Japanese term that Mikimoto himself applied to his finest pearls … it means “flower pearl” due to their pastel pink hues.
- Small to Moderate Sizes: Ranging from 7 mm to 9.5 mm and rarely 10 mm at their very largest. Their moderate sizes make them perfect for nearly any occasion and age group.
- Perfectly Round Shapes: Hanadama pearls are chosen from the highest quality lots of Akoya pearls at each harvest. Akoya pearls are famous for their perfectly round shapes, called “eight way rollers” because they will roll smoothly in all eight directions when placed on a flat surface.
- Perfect Matching: Hanadama Akoya pearls are all expertly matched for body color, overtone, shape, size, luster and surface quality. Each pair of earrings or full strand necklace will feature extremely little variation in matching, creating perfectly matched pearl jewelry.
- “Mirror-Like” Luster: Hanadama pearls are coveted for their intense, incredibly bright luster, able to reflect incredibly detailed objects in their surfaces. The Hanadama pearl type is the only pearl type that is actually certified to display the highest levels of luster of all Akoya pearls.
Hanadama Certifications Explained
Every certified Hanadama pearl necklace or matched pair of pearl earrings comes with their own individually numbered Certificate from the Pearl Science Laboratory. These certificates guarantee your pearls have attained the highest levels of luster, orient and nacre thickness.
Specific details listed on each certificate are:
Exact Picture of your pearl necklace or pair of earrings
- Individual Certificate Number
- Pearl Size and Jewelry Style.
Tests Administered are:
- Magnification for surface quality check
- Inner Inspection by Optic Fiber for nacre thickness and verification of bead nucleus
- Soft X-Ray Analysis for additional verification of nacre thickness
- Teri-Value which measures luster levels.
- Aurora Viewer to determine visible presence of orient.
Major Qualifications that MUST be Met to Qualify for Hanadama Grade:
- Luster (must exhibit “very strong” luster)
- Nacre thickness (a min. of .8mm of total nacre)
- Near flawless surface (only 1 “deep” inclusion per strand)
- Orient/Aurora (a rainbow-like soap bubble effect on the surface of the pearl)
Hanadama or AAA Quality Akoya Pearls?
This is a common conundrum for Akoya pearl buyers … should you go with the certified Hanadama pearls, or stick with the AAA quality Akoya?
The answer is different for everybody, and depends on what you’re looking for in fine pearl jewelry, what you want to do with those pearls and how much you want to spend.
Choose Hanadama Pearls If: you are looking for the absolute best of the best in terms of what the classic white Akoya pearl has to offer: extremely bright, highly reflective luster, visible Aurora (rainbow) effect and thick, compact nacre. A genuine, individually numbered certificate that the pearls have undergone an array of scientific testing to guarantee that your Akoya pearls are among the cream of the crop.
Choose AAA Quality Akoya Pearls If: you love the traditional beauty of the Japanese Akoya pearl that comes close to the Hanadama, but certification isn’t that much of a big deal for you. AAA quality Akoya pearls are more flexible in what the pearls can be used for, and are a good choice when you want to create custom length pearl necklaces, earrings, pearl pendants and rings.
Something to keep in mind when making this decision if this is more of a budgetary issue is that all Hanadama pearls are initially chosen from AAA quality harvests … so it is possible to purchase AAA pearls that approach Hanadama levels of luster and nacre thickness, just without the certification.
“Top Range” Hanadama Akoya Pearl Earrings: 9.0-9.5mm
Each set of Hanadama pearl earrings comes with a numbered certificate issued by the Pearl Science Lab of Japan and has undergone a lengthy testing process to ensure each set of earrings meets the strict standards necessary to receive a Hanadama grade. These pearls have the thickest, cleanest nacre out of any Akoya pearl on earth, and it is this thick nacre that produces the truly breathtaking luster exhibited.
Hanadama pearls represent the top .01% of the Japanese harvest, which makes the supply of these pearls very limited and unpredictable.
- Comes finished with gold mountings of your choice.
- Includes Certificate of Authenticity.
- Includes PSL Hanadama Certification.