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VAIL CO, Colorado

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March 28, 2013
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Pearl expert returns to Karats of Vail

What's that glistening in your Easter basket?

Sure, everybody loves Easter eggs, but there are even more dazzling orbs that can find their way into your Easter baskets. These orbs are capable of significantly upstaging even the most statuesque chocolate bunnies and will put the marshmallow ones to shame.

The orbs also represent a gift guaranteed by nature to never lose their beauty or allure. Oh ... and they're not edible, so don't try it.

"Pearls are a symbol of lasting beauty and love," said Koji Kawamoto, pearl specialist from Mie Prefecture, the heartland of pearl culturing. Kawamoto's vast assortment of pearl strands will be on display at Karats of Vail Friday through Monday. "Pearl necklaces are timeless. They are just as fashionable today as they were hundreds of years ago," he said.

Some people are aware that true pearls are born from irritants in the shells of oysters, mussels and 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 builds up and becomes beautiful or that the color of the creature's shell is what determines the jewel's hue along with the creature's diet and its environment.

The specimens at Karats come from all over the world and - like Easter eggs - come 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 a new beginning for spring, 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.

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The VailDaily Updated Mar 28, 2013 06:00PM Published Mar 28, 2013 05:56PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.