This Montreal Company Has Found Ways To Reinvent Pearls

Nishi Pearls' one-of-a-kind items make the perfect holiday gifts.
Contributing Writer
This Montreal Company Has Found Ways To Reinvent Pearls

Montreal companies are always finding ways to take the old and make it new. And that's exactly what Nishi Pearls, a Montreal-based jewelry company, is doing with pearls.

Think about it, every time we see a Halloween costume that's supposed to be from any decade before the '50s, there's usually a string of pearls involved.

But now, no more costumes. Nishi Pearls is bringing this age-old gem back to the modern world of fashionable jewelry. The company's one-of-a-kind items are perfect for any occasion and are handcrafted with the utmost love and detail.

During the holiday season, the company is offering free shipping with the coupon code "FREESHIP."

The company's co-founder, Alique Akkelian, shared her favourite gift picks with us, which include the Blushed Heart Necklace and the Mia Earrings, or the "everyday studs that can be mixed and matched for $55."

You can read the rest of our interview with Alique below. 

Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.

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What do you think separates your jewelry company from the rest? What makes Nishi Pearls unique?

[rebelmouse-image 26881469 photo_credit="Courtesy of Nishi Pearls" expand=1 original_size="1600x1066"] Courtesy of Nishi Pearls

When my brother Arka and I were building our brand, we realized that there is no other "affordable fine jewelry" brand that focuses solely on real, genuine pearls for a younger generation. We decided to fill that need.

The brand was founded with a three-fold objective: to reinvent genuine pearl jewelry while offering high quality and conscious pieces at fair prices. You can't find a genuine pearl brand that executes all three at once. We owe this to our family legacy and more than 40 years of experience in the industry.

It's also quite rare to see a brother and sister duo in their 30s in the pearl industry. We bring two varying perspectives to the table, but we are both avid online shoppers and wanted to speak to our own generation to make them fall in love with pearls the same way we have.

What's the process in between the oysters/pearls being grown on farms in Asia to being sold in Montreal? 

Pearls, unlike any other gem, are organic and created inside a living mollusk, making them the only renewable and sustainable gemstone. Beauty is not only found in how things look, but also in how they are created.

Each pearl requires on average six months to four years to develop in nature. The production of a pearl not only requires great knowledge, skill, and time, but also a thriving marine ecosystem. To produce a quality pearl, the oyster needs to be healthy, living in clean, unpolluted water where there is a lot of oxygen and minerals.

Our partners in Tahiti, China, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia follow environmentally responsible farming practices to ensure the health of their oysters and of their farming operation. Pearl farming also provides increased economic opportunities to remote marine communities and more job opportunities to locals. 

Each pearl is unique. Once the harvesting is completed, we take the time to match them by size, colour, and lustre. 

Most of the people working on our production team have been with us for a few decades and have extreme expertise in the field. They make sure to hand-select the best pearls suited for each individual piece of jewelry.

We're a one-of-a-kind brand selling a one-of-a-kind gem, it's genuinely true!

Part of your company's mission is to "redefine pearls." How do you go about doing so? Do you feel like there's a market for pearls with younger audiences?

We grew up in the industry. When I joined the family business in 2012, we were one of the leading wholesale pearl brands in North America, selling very timeless designs.

People were always shocked when they found out I was in the pearl industry because I never used to wear them. When we launched the Nishi brand, I was designing and creating pieces I would wear.

My aim was to reinvent the pearl so that it could be something I was proud to showcase as part of my everyday wardrobe and to overcome the "old and outdated" stigma attached to pearls. I wanted our jewelry to be for every day and every occasion. I was once complimented on my Pearl Bar Necklace and realized I had the same necklace on for a week.

I knew then that I had succeeded in creating a piece I was able to wear every day. Pearls are in more than ever despite the taste differences generations have. We are hoping to close the gap of what the younger generations, like me, would like to wear every day.

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