The Longjing Pearl Factory is located at:
No.2 Zuoan Gate Inner Street, ChongWen District, Beijing 100061 China.
This Pearl Center specializes in both freshwater and seawater pearls, with a reputation backed by the government of China, with a big selection and of the highest quality. There were all kinds of jewelry made of pearls in different colors, shapes, and sizes.
They also had, as an interesting sideline, famous Chinese traditional cosmetics such as pearl cream and pearl powder, reputed to make your skin smoother, tenderer, and most importantly, younger.
We were advised of all of this well before we arrived at the factory, and of course, one suspected the glowing review, with emphasis on the fact it was a government operation and therefore trustworthy, suggested we should buy, meant the tour guide would receive a commission on each sale.
This is nothing new, it’s the same the world over, so it’s up to the visitor to buy or not to buy.
As soon as you get in the door you are taken to the group’s guide for the tour (and afterward, available for help on making purchases). who gives you a rundown on the different types and colors of pearls. This briefly is,
Pearls come in two main categories: freshwater cultured pearls and saltwater cultured pearls. Various types of pearls are the result of the environment in which they live, and different cultivation techniques used by the pearl farmers.
Freshwater cultured pearls are grown in lakes and rivers, whereas saltwater cultured pearls are grown in bodies of saltwater such as bays. The most commonly used pearls are Freshwater pearls.
Freshwater Pearls come in various pastel shades of white, pink, peach, lavender, plum, purple, and tangerine.
South Sea cultured pearls come in shades of lustrous white, often with silver or rose overtones.
Black pearls are known as Tahitian pearls and come most often in shades of black and gray. While a Tahitian pearl has a black body color, it will vary in its overtones, which most often will be green or pink.
Then there’s a demonstration, where one of the tour group is selected to pick an oyster out of the tank, and then there’s the guessing game as to how many pearls are in the shell, with the winner getting a pearl.
Guesses ranged from 1 to 23 and the answer was 26. Nearest wins, and one for the person who picked the oyster out of the tank. After this demonstration, we move on to the ways we can tell the difference between real and fake pearls.
It seems strange that they would, but we were guaranteed by both the tour guide and the lady delivering the lecture that the pearls we were about to buy were real, so how could we suspect there was anything dodgy about them? Besides, now we could tell real from fake!
We then move onto the showroom floor where there are casements of pearl products, in the form of necklaces, earrings, and any number of variations and uses. And, just to let you know, the prices are very, very expensive, even if they say they have a special.
Perhaps the best products, and those that found favor with many of the women on the tour, was the pearl cremes and powders. These were not expensive, and, as we discovered later, actually worked as described.