Pearl People are the nicest folks! Readers, Please meet The Kwans! They bring the loveliest jade and pearl jewelry to Evine, and their 23rd anniversary is coming up in April!
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Nick Kwan, and I am the very lucky co designer and ambassador for our collection Kwan Collections and Far East Market Jewelry on Evine.
Hello I’m Nick!
Bracelets and bangles from from the Kwan Collection
It feels like just yesterday, my Mom Roz was walking out the door to board a flight to Eden Prairie, MN for her first show at what was then, Value Vision. Sitting at dinner the night before, I remember hearing frantic, semi- panicked “what am I going to talk about for an hour?” and “will they like what we are bringing them?” Well, the answer to both of those questions was a resounding YES!
Honestly, to answer the first question, my older brother and I knew that she would have no problem talking for an hour. No, it was not because we think my Mom talks too much! You see, when we were growing up and my Dad was on the road, my Mom would watch TV with us, turn off the volume, and proceed to ad lib entire shows and have my brothers and I in tears from laughter! Not commercials, but think The Love Connection and The Late show! We knew she had the gift of gab and live national TV would not be a problem!
Mom Roz at EVINE studio
Fast-forward 23 years, in a few short weeks, we are going to celebrate our 23rd anniversary at Evine. I’ve had to repeat this a few times just to let it settle in, but we are about to celebrate our TWENTY- THIRD ANNIVERSARY!
Reflecting back on the last 23 years, there is a lot to be thankful for. While I haven’t been on air with you or even in the business for the entire time, my parents will agree with me that the first thank you we must give is to all of you. To put it plainly, we would not be here without all of you! To everyone who has shopped or even casually watched our shows, we would not be here to celebrate without your continued love and support!
For the last 15 years, I have had the opportunity to work hand in hand with my parents, and on a personal level, it is something that I am most thankful for. While this seems like a given, they have taught me so much and paved a great path for me to follow and have always fostered an environment that has allowed me to pursue my passion, which is jewelry and creative work.
Mom and Dad
Whether it was being at the farm or in the areas where our gems come from, designing product, shooting photography and video, or writing, they have always encouraged me to do what I love, and at the end of the day, they allowed me to bring all of these things back in to jewelry in the form of education and enhancing the amount of product knowledge available to our customers.
Nick at a pearl farm
I can’t remember the date of my first presentation on air or even the year, but when I was asked to start presenting our items, the first thing that I thought about was a greater degree of education about our product. Not just greater education in terms of volume, but greater quality and content that is relatable and understandable. I love jewelry and our industry, and one of the greatest opportunities in our shows is to bring a higher level and quality of education to bring a better understanding of our product to the table – in essence, bringing much needed transparency to jewelry sourcing and production. I have a personal philosophy that I always keep in the back of my head, and that is “education first, sales second.” What connects me so much to this philosophy is that I want our viewers to make the best buying decisions possible and understand the level of collaboration and naturalness that we see in the gem, and ultimately know that they are getting something that we are proud to present. After all, when you think of the natural gem in any form, we are completely dependent on nature when it comes to actual gem production.
Beautiful golden south sea pearls
Looking within the jewelry industry, there is so much subjectivity and room for interpretation in what we are given in terms of education. When you look specifically at the pearl and jade, the two gems that we historically have brought to you, there is not much available in terms of real in-depth educational resources. To take this a step further and to show how subjective pearls and jade can be in values and understanding of quality and value, there are times when appraisers call us asking for secondary opinions on values and how to validate naturalness of these gems. Our aim is to use our shows as a way to explain in as much depth as possible the sources and natural characteristics of the gems we bring you. We love to share the inside story on how it was produced, even the insider stories that we are lucky enough to see when we visit these places.
This brings me to my love of love of spending time at the farms and the locales where our gems come from and my secondary love for photography and sharing a great story! The stories from the farm and mines are what I love to share on TV, because really, I am very lucky to have spent time with some of the original pearl farmers in the world and feel it is a duty as an ambassador of gems to share their stories, philosophies and passion for their gems. This is what allows you to see and feel what we are connected to when we design, source and produce a piece. In all honesty, when we get in to the sorting room or the design process with our gems, it is difficult not keep personal caches of what we are sorting and selecting! If you ask my wife, she will probably tell you about her Tahitian pearl strand that I selected for her, and how I gave her a pearl every day for 53 days!
Sunset at pearl farm
Golden South Sea and Tahitian pearl necklaces from the Kwan Collection
For my family, production of a piece goes well beyond creating a look, and it is about all things quality from the actual raw materials to the manufacturing processes. Small details that can be overlooked or even taken for granted like, like hand setting stones, hand knotting pearls, or even honoring the uniqueness of each gem by creating custom bezels. My parents really do watch every one of my presentations – even the late and very early ones and even the ones overseas. Their first comment after a show is usually to stop stressing about the little details during presentations, but the jewelry nerd in me can’t! To me, every little detail that goes in to our pieces is what makes them so special and should be celebrated!
If you are to look at our facebook page www.facebook.com/kwancollectionsgems or our website www.kwancollections.com we are not afraid to share the most minute details of our production and the little intricacies of the pearl that we love so much! All of these small details add up to what we feel is a great piece with durability and quality in mind. This excitement about production takes us all over the world to find the best sources for materials and gives us the opportunity to work with the best! It is important to understand where your gems come from, the natural characteristics, and even the rarity of what you will receive. Spending time at pearl farms, you quickly learn that at the forefront of the best culturing operation is reverence for nature and a deep respect for the partnership they have with nature. However, not all sources are the same, which is why we work with specific sources for our materials and are so proud to partner with them.
Over the last 23 years, I am proud to say that not much has changed in terms of how my family produces our jewelry, and that is a good thing! Many of you may not know, but my parents started this business over 40 years ago with $800 from their wedding gifts, an old Datsun, and hand painted handcrafts and jade lifesavers.
Jade lifesavers. First item my parents sold when they started their business.
3-year old Nick
Growing up, after dinner, our kitchen was also a production room for my parents to knot pearls while we did our homework.
To reflect and think that we have grown from stringing pearls on our old kitchen table to now celebrating a show running 23 years and counting is extremely humbling! Today, our South Sea and Tahitian pearl jewelry is still produced right here in our office in Seattle.
We still keep a strict eye on our entire production and still as a family sort, select, and even match and knot many of our pearls.
Jewelry to us should always be something to be worn as often as you would like, and this is the style we make our jewelry in. From working with some of the original and most historic pearl farmers to artisanal jade and gem cutters, I am very fortunate to be a part of this industry and share not only our story but also theirs.
March 2017 photo of Mom, Dad, and Me
As I get ready to close this out, my family and I want to once again thank all of you! With our anniversary show coming up on April 6th and 7th on Evine, we can’t say thank you enough to all of you. It’s an honor for my family and I to celebrate 23 years with all of you and for all of you to allow us in to your homes and entrust us with your jewelry decisions. While words will never do justice to the amount of gratitude and love that we have for you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this moment and for many more to come. Thank you to all of our TV Shopping Queens and to Michelle for the opportunity to write to all of you!
Peace, love and pearls!