My pearl story is really a fairy tale, one with magical twists and countless blessings. I owe everything to my teachers.
In 1951, Rudolph Voll (Fuji’s father) opened Pacific Pearls in Tokyo. He and his wife Freida ran a successful and elegant pearl shop there until the mid 1990′s. Fuji and his sister Aloha were raised amid the height of the Japanese cultured pearl craze, to say it is in their blood is an understatement. In 1967 Pacific Pearls opened in Hong Kong, at the time it was one of only 10 retail pearl shops in Kowloon (now there are hundreds!). The shop in Hong Kong is still open today, and the walls are covered with a truly unique visual history.
A gift to Fuji Voll from K. Mikomoto
Rudolph/Frieda Voll with K. Mikomoto in 1951. Fuji Voll sits playing with his new toy.
Mrs. Terry Tsang who runs the Hong Kong office has been with Pacific Pearls for several decades and Fuji’s sister Aloha runs a bustling pearl business in both Japan and Thailand. In 1988 Fuji opened Pacific Pearls California with his partner Marcia Fentress.
I met Fuji and Marcia in 1994. I was 17 years old, crafty and creative but with out direction. I was intrigued by their tales of adventure, and amazed at the blending of cultures I found in them, they were overjoyed to find a dedicated pearl stringer. Slowly I began to learn about pearls.
I would spend long hours knotting and reknotting Japanese Akoya pearls, and designing new arrangements with the unusual shapes that Chinese farms were just beginning to produce at the time. I studied the pearls, I delighted in the new products. I learned to drill pearls, I learned how to buy pearls, I went to auctions, I visited farms. I have worked for Pacific Pearls ever since, we have become family in every sense of the word. Kojima Company and Pacific Pearls are run side by side, together we trade in nearly every variety of pearl. I feel blessed to be a part of this tradition.
In 2001, I opened Kojima Company, as a venue for my unique designs and rare pearls. I have travelled the world collecting both pearls and gemstones for my designs. Currently I work with several jewelers both in the U.S. and Vietnam. I try to keep my production small, and each piece one of a kind. I really enjoy designing and making jewelry, especially when it makes people smile.
Fuji Voll and Sarah Canizzaro AGTA Tucson 2008 Annual Pearl Walk.
As my understanding of pearls grew I began to appreciate more and more the value of natural wild pearls. Growing up on the coast of California, I have always been enamored with the ocean. As a child spending days searching for seashells, and pounding the abalone meat after my father would spend the day diving. I find natural pearls to be most valuable of all gems. I now trade in many varieties of natural pearls from around the world, namely Conch pearls from the Caribbean, Abalone pearls from the coast of California and Mexico, and natural Oyster pearls.
Pearls are my passion, I love what I do.