keshi pearls

Keshi means ‘poppy’ in Japanese, and refers to pearls grown with no nucleus. Though the term technically applies to many types of pearls, colloquially it is used for non-nucleated pearls that are irregularly shaped, often like flakes or amorphous blobs.

It’s difficult to find these to see in person but so worthwhile if you have a chance. The larger keshis can form cool, creature-like shapes (hippos, elephants), and the play of color in the nacre can be especially varied. I’ve borrowed some pieces from the Etsy shop Lilia’s Treasures, which features a great selection of funky designs using  non-traditional pearls. I’ll be featuring Lema’s pieces in a few posts, so keep an eye out for more pearls in the near future.

The first piece is a statement strand of enormous keshis, which will give you an idea of the incredible strangeness of these pearls.



They seem like splashes of molten rainbow.  As if they are not of our world.

I opted for a casual look but you can see how readily these would adapt to a formal context. Pearls have this flexibility, for me, that precious gemstones simply do not.



Here is a strand of keshi flakes, equally arresting.




High-waist denim leggings from Express*, Banana Republic shirt, vintage Levi’s belt, Zara pumps, antique spoon bracelet. Metallic turquoise eye liner (Urban Decay 24/7 liner in flipside), a bit scary from a distance.

*I’m not in the habit of buying pre-distressed clothing but, in the event that there is no sound, non-distressed equivalent (or not in my size), and I am happy with the fit (so rare), I will sometimes go for them.



This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Featured pearls are on loan from Lilia’s Treasures.