strands pearls wood piece

Is there anything more elegant, more classic, than the soft luminescent glow of a pearl? Pearls have been a mainstay with jewelry designers for good reason. They are perfect for any occasion, and pair well with almost any gemstone or metal fitting.

But, unlike many other gemstones, the shade and luster of pearls make them ideal for everyday wear, and their rarity and design versatility allow them to translate easily into evening wear. One of the rarest species of pearls is the Japanese Keshi pearl.

What are Keshi Pearls?

While most cultivated pearls form from a nucleus inside the mollusk, Keshi pearls are created from what remains when the nucleus is rejected. This means they are composed entirely of the filmy build-up that forms the pearl giving them a unique sheen and a variety of colors.

The conditions under which the pearls are formed are extreme, in both natural and controlled environments. It can take years for a single Keshi to form, which contributes to their rarity and gives them the unique shapes. As opposed to standard pearls, which tend to be round or oval, the variety of Keshi pearls shapes includes rice, flat, and baroque. These variations make them highly valued by jewelry makers, who use them when designing pieces.

A Brief History of Keshi Pearl Jewelry

The timeless appeal of Keshi pearls dates to before 100 B.C. They are found in 500-year-old jewelry collections of Indian Maharajahs and Arabian royalty. But, they really gained popularity when pearl cultivator Kokichi Mikimoto began to market these by-products of cultivation to the world in the early 1900s.

The demand for the striking Keshi pearls led to an increase in production and availability, and Japan became the largest trader of Keshi pearls in the world. But, changes to production, including the practice of x-raying mollusks to check for rejected nuclei, have returned Keshi pearls to their rare and coveted status.

strand freshwater pearls isolated

How to Incorporate Keshi Pearls for Any Occasion

1. Keshi Pearl Stud Earrings

Add a subtle shimmer to your everyday outfits with a delicate pair of Keshi pearl studs. You can easily DIY a pair in minutes.

2. Statement Flat Keshi Pearl Necklace

For a piece of jewelry that can still be worn casually, but makes a statement at the same time, try making an olive Keshi necklace. The striking shape of the flat pearls, combined with the unusual pearlescent green color, make this necklace a wonderful conversation piece.

3. Raw Keshi Pearl Cufflinks

Pearls aren’t only a women’s wear item. The raw shape of Keshi pearls gives a masculine edge to cufflinks. These are the perfect accessory to complement office attire, and for more formal occasions, such as weddings.

4. Keshi Pearl and Crystal Bracelet

Due to the cultivation process, round Keshi pearls are exceptionally rare, and even if you come across some, they will never have a completely round shape. Should you be fortunate enough to find a selection of rounded Keshi pearls, they add a touch of elegance to any piece of jewelry. However, they look particularly stunning when combined with Swarovski crystal or other light-colored gemstones, which allow the pearls’ natural luminescence to shine through.

5. Champagne Keshi Pearl Earrings

One of the more stunning colors of Keshi pearls available is champagne, which have a mild, peachy-pink hue that combines beautifully with rose gold or copper for an on-trend look that adds a little retro style to your wardrobe.

6. Flat Pearl Flower Necklace

Keshi pearls can come in a variety of shapes, and none are so unusual as the flat-shaped pearls, which are reminiscent of flower petals. Work with the natural shape of the flat pearls to create a gorgeous statement necklace with a floral motif. You could even work in a round-shaped Keshi pearl in a contrasting color for the center of the flower.

7. Keshi Focal Bead Necklace

gold keshi beads pearl strandKeshi pearls come in a range of sizes, from tiny seed pearls to large flattened discs. These larger pearls make the ideal selection for a focal bead. Use one of the many unusual pearl colors, such as merlot or peacock, for a head-turning addition to your jewelry. Or, opt for a more classic off-white pearl to allow the pearl’s natural shimmer to stand out.

Remember…

Pearls are softer than gemstones and tend to wear more easily. If you are using Keshi pearls in jewelry making, earrings, necklaces, and other low-impact items are the best option to keep your pieces pristine and undamaged.

Pearls are also sensitive to chemical damage, so it is a good idea to put on your pearl jewelry after applying makeup, perfume, or hair products.

If you clean and care for your Keshi pearl jewelry, you will always have these timeless pieces in your wardrobe for any occasion.