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  1. Pandora Unveils First Ever Art Collaboration - Keith Haring X Pandora
  2. Further Growth in Hong Kong’s Luxury Retail Sales
  3. Pandora Unveils First Ever Art Collaboration - Keith Haring X Pandora
  4. Further Growth in Hong Kong’s Luxury Retail Sales
  5. Platinum Jewellery Sales Rise in Key Markets in Q2 2022, PGI says
  6. AGTA Announces New Board Members
  7. Fura Gems Discovers 101-carat Ruby
  8. Lightbox Sells Lower-Quality Lab-Grown Diamonds
  9. 160-Carat Rough Unearthed from Angola Mine
  10. GIA Found Synthetics, Simulant among Four ‘Natural’ Sapphires
  11. ‘De Beers Blue' Might Originate from Deep Earth, Says GIA
  12. New Chairman Elected at India’s GJEPC
  13. Tiffany Launches Its First All Gender Bangle Collection
  14. Pandora Launches Lab-grown Diamond Jewellery Collection in North America
  15. Gemfields Reports Record Revenues
  16. IIJS Premiere Sees Record Number Visitors
  17. Signet Acquires Blue Nile for $360M
  18. Hong Kong jewellery sales slide in H1
  19. Fancy Colour Diamond Price Index Rises
  20. The Potentially Largest Pink Diamond Found in 300 Years
  21. Kering Reports Strong First Half Jewellery Sale
  22. Vicenzaoro Back In September
  23. eBay Offers Fine Jewellery Authentication with GIA Partnership
  24. New Executive Director and Secretary General Appointed for Watch & Jewellery Initiative 2030
  25. VO Vintage Returns To Vicenzaoro September
  26. Sarine Partners With NGTC on Grading Reports In China
  27. Diamond Prices Slide Amid Economic Uncertainty
  28. De Beers, Botswana Sales Agreement Extended
  29. AWDC Appoints David Gotlib As New President
  30. IGI Debuts Online Learning Courses
  31. Swarovski Appoints First Non-Family CEO
  32. Kashmir Sapphire Ring Comes Out on Top at Bonhams
  33. WJA Foundation Launches New Scholarship for Women of Colour
  34. Blue Nile Merges with Mudrick for Its Second IPO
  35. RJC Launches ‘Gender Equality Toolkit’ at JCK Las Vegas
  36. GIA Reports to Go Digital by 2025
  37. Gemfields Achieved Highest Revenue at Emerald Auction
  38. DAMAC Group Now Owns de GRISOGONO
  39. GJEPC Proposes Lab-Grown Diamond Park in India
  40. Pandora’s New Crafting Facility in Vietnam Costs $100M
  41. Q1 Gold Jewellery Demand Soft, Says WGC
  42. Jewellery Buying Groups Formed New Global Alliance
  43. Singapore to Host Jewellery & Gem World 2022
  44. ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Premiered in Tiffany’s 2022 High Jewellery Collection
  45. Christie’s to Auction ‘The Light of Africa’ for $18M in June
  46. New Board of Directors were elected to Jewellery Exporters Association of Turkey
  47. Oroarezzo back with Première Competition
  48. ‘De Beers Blue’ auctions US$57.5M at Sotheby’s
  49. CTF launches Mother’s Day collection
  50. Jewelers of America Announces The 2022 CASE Award Winners
  51. De Beers: Diamond Businesses Staying Cautious About Business Expectations
  52. Synthetic Alexandrite Pioneer David Patterson Dies at 89
  53. 205 CARAT FANCY INTENSE YELLOW DIAMOND GENEVA MAGNIFICENT JEWELS | 11 MAY 2022
  54. Rebecca Foerster Appointed As President of Hearts On Fire
  55. US Steps Up Sanctions Against Alrosa
  56. PGI Study Findings: Consumers Have Different Interpretations of Sustainability
  57. Irving Wong Appointed as Pandora’s General Manager For China
  58. Rolex’s 6 New Watches Unveiled at Watches & Wonders Geneva
  59. Sixième Sens par Cartier High Jewellery: Heteractis Ring
  60. Will Russian Diamond Ban Help Foster Lab-Grown Diamond Business?
  61. Press Release: Ariana DeBose, Hunter Schafer and Zoey Deutch Shine in De Beers Jewellers at the Vani
  62. Press Release: Ariana DeBose, Hunter Schafer and Zoey Deutch Shine in De Beers Jewellers at the Vani
  63. JEWELLERY GENEVA Takes Place between 30 March and 3 April 2022
  64. Christie’s Presents 228 carat White Dimond
  65. Gold Bar Integrity Programme to be Implemented
  66. Press Release: BONHAMS ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF BRUUN RASMUSSEN AUCTIONEERS – DENMARK’S LEADING AUCT
  67. Early Spring Fashion for Natural Diamonds
  68. Jennifer Garner Shines in De Beers Jewellers at the Premiere in New York
  69. To celebrate its 15th anniversary, “Cartier Women’s Initiative Impact Report”
  70. American Gem Trade Association Announces Partnership with JCK Show Again
  71. Chow Tai Fook and Canada's Mountain Province Diamonds Sign Supply Agreement
  72. Registration Is Open for 2022 JCK Show
  73. Alrosa Caught Up in U.S. Sanctions
  74. Tawhid Abdullah Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
  75. The Largest Blue Diamond Appears at Sotheby’s Auction
  76. Price Rise for Nearly 90% Of Fancy Colour Last Year
  77. Dickson Yewn’s Collectibles Given for Sotheby’s Charity Auction
  78. De Beers Boosts Production
  79. Watches & Wonders Geneva To Be Held In Hybrid Format
  80. Jewellery, Gem & Technology Dubai to Debut February
  81. Hong Kong Losing its Dominance as the World's Largest Watch Market
  82. Gift Guide for CNY
  83. Press Release: Sotheby’s Announces New Appointments To Luxury Team In ASsia
  84. Georg Jensen Becomes a Certified Member of RJC
  85. 555.55-carat Black Dimond Unveiled at Sotheby’s Auction
  86. GIA Appoints Anna Martin as SVP for Institute, Industry Relations
  87. Alrosa Boosts Direct Sales of Fancy Diamonds to Investors
  88. CIBJO General Assembly postponed to March 17 and 18, 2022
  89. 7,525 Carat Emerald Discovered
  90. Karl Lagerfeld Jewellery Collections to Shine
  91. Diamonds Travel To The Space
  92. Vicenzaoro January postponed to March
  93. America’s Youngest Jeweller Starts Business via Instagram
  94. Concerns over conflict gold arise again
  95. The 1st International Gemstone & Diamond Trade Summit Wraps Up in Macao
  96. The Knot’s Study:Over 30% of Respondents Say Natural Diamond Unimportant
  97. Pantone’s 2022 Colour of the Year: Very Peri
  98. Phillips Jewellery Auctions Fetch over HK$181 Million
  99. The World’s First Pure Gold Castle of Magical Dreams by CHOW TAI FOOK
  100. Jewellery Sales Jumped 78% During the Thanksgiving Holiday
  101. Gem Auctions DMCC’s Debut Auction Successful
  102. Cartier’s Christmas Tree Lights Up the City with Love and Hope
  103. Rediscovering Lacloche in Hong Kong
  104. Blue diamonds to lead Christie’s HK autumn sale
  105. JMA show to stage next Thursday
  106. HK auction to help Cambodian kids
  107. Basel fair cancelled again
  108. HKDI show to continue in Dec
  109. Gemfields sells 7,500-carat emerald for good
  110. Sustainability is key to diamond purchases, a report says
  111. Christie’s Geneva jewellery sale fetches CHF53.7m
  112. Cibjo forms working group on fei cui standards
  113. Only Watch raises CHF30m for DMD research
Read More...


HIGHLIGHT

  1. US market unfolds changes and potential
  2. The queen of gems, the gem of queens
  3. Classics return

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  • A round and a mabe from Pteria sterna molluscs
  • Douglas McLaurin implants a bead and donor tissue into the gonads of an oyster. With a Masters of Science degree in Aquaculture, he is one of the original researchers who started the pearl culture operations in the Gulf of California as a university project.
  • Gold pendant in pearls and diamonds by Barbara Somlo
  • A selection of mabe pearls with violet overtones
  • Between 18 and 26 months after grafting, the pearl is removed from the oyster.經過18至26個月生成,珍珠可從珠蚌中取出。
  • The PMC operation is the only saltwater pearl farm in the Americas.
  • Workers are bringing the baskets to the surface to clean the oysters.
  • The rainbow-lipped Pteria sterna oyster with multi-coloured pearls

The queen of gems, the gem of queens

By Cynthia Unninayar

The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, separates the Baja California Peninsula — the second longest peninsula in the world — from the Mexican mainland. With approximately 4,000 kilometres of coastland, the gulf is one of the most diverse seas on the planet and is home to 5,000 species of micro-invertebrates. It is also home to a species of oyster, Pteria sterna, which produces pearls in a rainbow of colours.

During the Age of Discovery, European explorers searched the globe for untold treasures in lands across the oceans. One of the Spanish conquistadors was Hernán Cortés, who led the expedition that overthrew the Aztec empire in the early 16th century, winning Mexico for the crown of Spain. Among the riches he took back to Europe were pearls with the most intense colours ever seen.

These lustrous objects soon became New Spain’s most important export. Their prices exceeded that of the combined exports to the Old World of gold, silver and spices. Prized by queens, kings and nobility, these dark Mexican pearls were known as “The Queen of Gems and the Gem of Queens”.

To satisfy the growing demand in Europe, fishermen scoured the waters of the Gulf for the molluscs that produced these iridescent pearls. As a result of overfishing, the oyster beds were virtually depleted by the end of the 19th century and soon, thereafter, Mexican pearls basically disappeared from gem markets.

In an effort to save the industry, Gaston Vivés, a medical doctor of French origin, created an oyster farm near La Paz in 1903 — the same year that Japan’s Kochiki Mikimoto was perfecting his techniques for growing pearls. Vivés raised eight million black-lipped Pinctada mazatlanica oysters in a protected growing area. Unlike Mikimoto, Vivés did not implant them with beads to create pearls, but, since one in ten oysters, on average, produced a natural pearl, he obtained around 800,000 pearls a year. Alas, his farm was destroyed in 1914 — a casualty of the Mexican Revolution. In 1939, natural pearl fishing was banned altogether in an attempt to prevent the extinction of these unique molluscs.

Interest in the Sea of Cortez “gems” never dwindled, though, and experiments to cultivate nacreous pearls in Pinctada mazatlanica and Pteria sterna — the two species inhabiting the Gulf coastline — were conducted over the years. In 1993, four researchers (Sergio Farell, Manuel Nava, Douglas McLaurin and Enrique Arizmendi) from the Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, ITESM, began cultivating pearls as a university project in Bacochibampo Bay near the city of Guaymas. Their efforts resulted in the successful harvesting of high-quality cultured pearls in the rainbow-lipped Pteria sterna oyster. T

his led, in 2000, to the establishment of a private company, Perlas del Mar de Cortez, in association with the ITESM. After the local ITESM closed in 2005, the original researchers took over the company and changed its name to Cultivadores Mexicanos de Perlas SC, while keeping the ‘Perlas del Mar de Cortez (PMC)’ as the brand name. It is the only saltwater cultured pearl farm in the Americas.

Since Mexican law prohibits the use of wild adult pearl oysters, pearl farming begins with the collection of spat. When molluscs reproduce, they release larvae into the water that swim around until they find a suitable structure to settle on. Once the larvae attach themselves permanently to a surface, they are called spat.

Workers at the farm collect the spat, which is later transferred to baskets where the baby oysters are protected and can feed on plankton in the waters of the gulf. After two years, a bead — 6mm to 10mm from a freshwater mollusc — and a piece of tissue from a donor oyster are grafted into the gonads of an oyster. It is then placed in a mesh basket and left in the ocean for another 18 to 26 months to ensure a good nacre thickness. Each oyster is cleaned five times a year by hand to keep it healthy.

At harvest, the average pearl size is about 9mm, with exceptional pearls reaching 12mm to 14mm. The colours range from opalescent silver, grey and gold/bronze to blue/cyan, emerald/olive green, violet and black, with various iridescent overtones of pink, purple, blue and green. Each pearl is unique and there are never two identical pearls. While some Sea of Cortez pearls resemble Tahitian cultured pearls, they can be distinguished by their distinctive red fluorescence under long-wave ultraviolet radiation. They also exhibit a greater range of iridescent colours, including some shades not shown by Tahitian cultured pearls.

The shimmering iridescent natural colours of Sea of Cortez pearls are not, in any way, enhanced. After removal from the shell, they are washed in water, soaked in mineral oil for six hours, and then dried. They are never subjected to bleaching, dyeing, coating or polishing. They are available in round, semi-round, baroque and drop shapes.

Only a small percentage of a harvest meets the required gem-quality criteria, which translates into about 4,000 pearls a year. This makes the Sea of Cortez pearls the rarest on Earth. If we compare their annual production to other types of pearls, we find: freshwater 1,800 tonnes; akoya 50 tonnes; Tahitian black pearls 12 tonnes; white and golden South Sea pearls 11 tonnes; Sea of Cortez pearls 0.004 tonnes or 4 kilograms. They are also the only pearls in the gem industry that qualify under the “Fair Trade Gems” protocol.

More than half of PMC’s production is sold locally, while other pearls are distributed by a few authorised dealers. The oyster meat is sold as food, considered a delicacy in the region, and the shells are made into buttons.

The company sells loose pearls as well as several lines of jewellery in classic and contemporary styles in silver and gold. It also produces mabe pearls, which are mostly set in silver by local silversmiths. (Photo courtesy: Perlas del Mar de Cortez unless otherwise specified)

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