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Karats in Vail hosts pearl specialist this weekend

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The variety of pearls in Koji Kawamoto’s collection represents nearly every shade of the color spectrum and every corner of the world.

If you go ...

What: Pearl specialist Koji Kawamoto.

Where: Karats of Vail, Vail Village.

When: Friday through Monday, with an encore show Feb. 21-23.

More information: Call 970-476-4760.

Finding a gift that is precious, personal and which perfectly embodies “love” is no easy task. Of course you want to avoid the predictable, the cheesy and the unromantically functional. Then there’s the further dilemma of narrowing it down once you have an idea — say, a piece of jewelry. How can you possibly decide what type, color, size, etc.? You’re not going for a wedding ring, after all.

But your loved one is so special, you truly want to offer the moon and the stars. Maybe even the air and the sea. How could this be possible in any material thing?

Koji Kawamoto, in town for a special Valentine’s weekend show at Karats of Vail, has the answer.

Power of Pearls

“Pearls are a symbol of everlasting love and beauty,” said Kawamoto, who hails from Mie Prefecture, Japan, the very place where pearl culturing was first discovered. “Valentine’s Day is a perfect occasion to give pearls to your loved one. Pearls have a power to carry and pass your heart, so your heart will always be with the one you love.”

Grown inside mollusks (oysters, clams and mussels) and believed by certain civilizations to be the gemstone of the moon, pearls do indeed carry more energy from nature than any other gem.

The pearl specialist always carries a broad selection of Akoya pearls — the classic off-white variety that he firmly believes every woman should own. He also has gleaming white South Sea pearls, freshwater in an astonishing range of sizes and colors — white, pink, blue, pistachio, aubergine, chocolate and multicolor. Searching the world to unearth enough similarly colored pearls to make a single strand sometimes takes 10 years, but Kawamoto’s collection also includes individual pearls set in uniquely designed rings, earrings, cufflinks and pendants.

‘Simplicity is the Answer’

“If you are overwhelmed by the choices, simplicity is the answer,” Kawamoto said. “If she already has a pearl necklace, I would suggest a pearl bracelet and matching earrings. If she has Akoya pearls, I suggest Tahitian, South Sea or big freshwater pearls.”

With his years of matchmaking (between pearls and owner, that is), Kawamoto has the unique ability to look at someone’s photo and select an ideal color to not only deliver a striking new glow to the person’s skin tone but to the pearls themselves. In other words, the two are able to bring out the best in each other … much like you and your loved one.

“In Japan, we believe that pearls protect us like an amulet,” Kawamoto said. “The gorgeous growing luster of pearls are one of the most beautiful things in the universe. They are a rare, perfect gift from nature … very romantic. The warmth, softness and shine of pearls represents a special connection between loved ones.”


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