Many know Fiji for its tropical islands and an eponymous and pristine spring water source, but Christina Assael aims to familiarize Americans with the island nation’s most exotic export, its pearls.
As the force behind the pearl and coral jewelry brand Assael, she was recently approached by a small, esteemed pearl farmer seeking to place his rare gems in the most appreciative hands. Who better to carry Fijian pearls than the brand who helped bring the mysterious, lustrous, multi-color black Tahitian pearls stateside some 60-plus years ago?
At the exclusive trade-only Couture Jewelry Show held in Las Vegas in early June, Mrs. Assael was excited to share the details of her deal for exclusivity. Assael is now the only U.S. company to carry J Hunter Fiji pearls, the colors of which rival any rainbow. Fiji pearls are naturally multi-colored and are produced by the Pinctada Margaritifera-Typica oyster, a sub specie of the black-lipped Tahitian oyster. The Typica is a smaller oyster and will, therefore, produce a smaller pearl.
“The water is different where they grow, and the oyster shells are more vivid, with a rainbow display,” explains Mrs. Assael, with some of the pearls’ sultry blue and reddish hues glimmering from a nearby tray. From pale baby blue to cherry to pale green, she had never seen such colors. “They were intoxicating,” she said.
From myriad lustrous, small, and colorful keshi to a small sampling of rounds, Mrs. Assael saw potential for maximizing their beauty and not just the flaw-free ones. After all, it’s the complex colors—cherry, chocolate, burgundy and vibrant blue—of Fijian pearls that make them so unique. “Pearls shouldn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful and accepted,” she explained amidst a stand full of perfectly round pearls. “We’re introducing these for the exclusivity to wear such rare and exquisite colors. Fijian pearls are exciting and luxurious to wear as fine jewelry.”