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VAIL CO, Colorado

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February 13, 2013
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Pearl expert returns to Karats in Vail

Flowers are always a hit for Valentine's Day, no question. Chocolate ... who doesn't love it? But no matter how unique the variation of these classic tokens of affection, they will never last long.

There is one gift, however, guaranteed by nature to never lose its beauty or allure.

"Pearls are a symbol of lasting beauty and love, so they are a perfect gift for Valentine's Day," said Koji Kawamoto, pearl specialist from Mie Prefecture, the heartland of pearl culturing, whose vast assortment of pearl strands will be on display at Karats of Vail Thursday to Feb. 18. "Pearl necklaces are timeless. They are just as fashionable today as they were hundreds of years ago."

Some people are aware that true pearls are born from pieces of sand in the shells of clams but most don't realize how each pearl is made unique by the secretion of coating from the mollusk on the irritant as it slowly hardens and becomes beautiful or that the color of the creature's shell is what determines the jewel's hue.

The specimens at Karats come from all over the world and in a pastel rainbow of shades - peacock, pistachio, aubergine, silver, green and blue from Tahiti, white and gold from the South Sea and freshwater from streams across the globe, in both round and Baroque shapes. According to Kawamoto, when it comes to conveying love, no variety is more appropriate than the classic pinkish white Akoya.

"They can be necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants or rings. Akoya pearls are the first one to get if you don't have pearls yet," Kawamoto said. "Pearls are traditionally very special gifts to express your true love. If you want to be with someone for many, many years to come - forever - you should pick pearls as a Valentine's Day gift. Your wish will be granted. I believe so."

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The VailDaily Updated Feb 13, 2013 05:58PM Published Feb 13, 2013 05:55PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.