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Dna & Codes

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I. II.

HISTORY OF FINE PEARLS MYTHS. ................................................................................... 2 .MAJOR CATEGORIES OF FINE PEARLS. ............................................................................ 3


THE VALUE OF FINE PEARLS. ........................................................................................... 3 IV.

CULTURED PEARLS – MAN AND NATURE JOIN FORCES. ................................................. 4 V. HISTORY OF CULTURED PEARLS 100 YEARS. ................................................................... 4


IMITATIONS – ALL MAN. ................................................................................................... 4 VII.

MAJOR CATEGORIES OF CULTURED PEARLS . ................................................................. 5 VIII.

PEARL CULTIVATION AREAS. .......................................................................................... 6 IX.

CREATING CULTURED PEARLS. ...................................................................................... 6 X. XI. PEARL PRODUCTION – Volume and value............................................................................. 7 MARKET SHARE OF VARIOUS CULTURED PEARL CATEGORIES ....................................... 8

XII. PEARL QUALITY EVALUATION. ........................................................................................ 8 XIII. THE PEARL MARKET....................................................................................................... 10 XIV. NETWORKS. .................................................................................................................... 12 XV. A GLANCE AT THE 100 FUTURE YEARS. .......................................................................... 13 XVI. PEARLS IN THE LUXURY MARKET. ................................................................................. 13


Fine pearls are creation of nature, they are organic gems. The most ancient pearl was found in Japan, 5000 years ago, at a period when Japanese did not yet realize their beauty and value. They only exploited them from the17th century, and their first costumers were the Chinese and Vietnamese people who were already buying pearls from the Persian Gulf, Ceylon, South India, Sumatra and the Philippines. At that time, pearls were for those people the queen of gems. Pearls had also reached the realm of Pharaohs 5 centuries before JC and Cleopatra is known to have possessed two pear shapes of a priceless value. The legend emphasizes her attraction to pearls when telling the drink she prepared for her lover Marc Antoine with a powder of pearls which may well have been the most expensive drink so far. It does not seem that pearls had been so well known by Hebrews at that time but the New Testament mentions that their beauty and rarity at the door of the Celeste City. Greeks knew pearls through Phoenicians, who had a quasi monopolistic trade between Orient and the Mediterranean Sea; many antique pearls may be observed in their respective museums. Romans, by their conquests of Jerusalem, of Egypt, of Gaul and England increased the knowledge of pearls. Their prices reached fabulous amounts until the empire fell and brought about the decline of pearls around the Mediterranean. The middle Ages and its uncertainty saw the stop of faraway trips and with them the trade of pearls. At that time, the fresh water pearls from Scotland, Ireland, Danube and East of France became used by kings and queens and they ornamented their sceptres, spoons, sacred instruments. Pearls embroideries symbolized fortunes in Europe. At that time, the cutting of stones was not well known, so the piercing of pearls remained the ornament of choice. They came from India or South East Asia. The Renaissance period corresponds to the golden age of pearls; this phenomenon was due to the arrival of American pearls, brought by the conquistadors (Panama, Venezuela, and Mexico). At that time, pearls started constituting financial reserves and the passion for them became so exaggerated that the Sovereigns of Europe edicted laws to refrain the wearing of pearls. The 17th century saw the emergence of diamonds and their cuts, and they started replacing pearls together with the exhausting of oysters and the forbidding laws of fishing. At the beginning of the 20th century, compulsory gift from any well born man would be pearls, at that time there was a tremendous boom in the development of fisheries. In 1905 half the production of pearls came from the Persian Gulf, The other half from The Red Sea, Ceylon, Malaysia, Australia, Polynesia, Mexico, Panama, China, Venezuela, Siberia, Scotland. The 1929 crisis and the 1st world war changed the habits and the traditional necklace was not any longer a traditional gift. 2

Fine pearls – all nature!
Before the turn of the 20th century, pearls traded around the world were natural pearls. When a foreign organic particle (never a grain of sand as the legend goes) accidentally gets lodged in an oyster, the small organism struggles to no avail, and dies entombed within the pearl oyster. During its struggle to free itself, it breaks into the mantle epithelium of the oyster, taking with it a piece of pearl oyster’s tissue. This tissue proliferates around the body of the small intruded creature, forming a pocket. The cells of this pouch of mantle epithelium, referred to as the pearl sac (sack), secrete layer and layer of nacre around the disintegrating organism, which now becomes the core of a natural pearl. The more layers will be thin, the more they will reveal their orient. If the layers have different hues, they will appear by transparency until they give an illusion of rainbow. One easily understands the presence of a nucleus in a cultured pearl will not allow this phenomenon. Natural pearls are rare, and constitute less than one percent of the world pearl trade. Most of the natural pearls we see today are in antique jewelry, and among the collections of collectors. Ancient pearls are restored by specialists. Some 10 years may be taken to realize a perfect choker (equal pearl sizes). The world of fine pearls is the one of hues, of connoisseurs, of discretion of a certain luxury reserved for initiated people.

a) b) c) d) Conch pearls Abalone pearls. Melo melo pearls. Keshis pearls.


a) Fine pearls are negotiated in shaws. Their weight is in grains=0,20gr. b) Fine pearls value criteria are: color, lustre (surface appearance), orient (typical of fine pearls), size, weight.


The demand for more pearls has led to a series of experiments of pearl cultivation in various parts of the world. About 100 years ago, the first round pearls were successfully grown and harvested in Japan. Like natural pearls, cultured pearls grow in oysters in a natural environment. But unlike natural pearls, the foreign substance does not get into the oyster by chance. Man copies the process of nature by introducing mantle tissue cells, often together with a round shell bead, into a pearl oyster. The oyster envelops the implants with layers of nacre, same as in the growth pearl, and yields a cultured pearl.



In the history of cultured pearls, 3 names have to be mentioned. KOKICHI MIKIMOTO, TATSUHEI MISE, AND TOKICHI NISHAWA. These three men discovered the techniques to cultivate round pearls more or less at the same time, at the end of the 19th century. In 1920, cultured pearls akoya were available in the commerce in Europe and in the United States. In 1915 Japanese pioneers attracted by the first success of the akoya cultures launched the culture of pearls in greater oysters in the Pacific Ocean in South Japan. Experimental farms were created in Philippines and Indonesia. In 1960 Jean Marie Domard, responsible for the fishing department, initiated the research for the culture of pearls in French Polynesia. In 1965, the first 1000 Tahiti pearls were harvested. Encouraged by the success, Japanese started to cultivate pearls in lakes, the first one was the Biwa one, Biwa pearls became synonymous to fresh water pearls, until the 1968 years when Chinese had their first fresh water pearls harvests and overcame the Japanese productions. They became the first producers in fresh water pearls.

Seeing the popularity of pearls, some merchants develop artificial products that resemble the appearance of pearls. These pearl imitations do not have the organic nacre which is the essence of natural and cultured pearls. These pearl imitations, often of glass, plastic or reconstituted shell powder, are manufactured in factories instead of being cultivated in the sea. Ex: Majorica pearls.


Among the various species of molluscs that yield lustrous pearls, five major species “cooperate” well with human efforts. a) Pinctada fucata (akoya pearl oysters). Akoya pearls are cultivated in Japan, Southern China, Vietnam, and Eastern Australia. b) Pinctada maxima (South Sea pearl oysters). South Sea pearls are cultivated in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar (Burma) as well as in Malaysia and Southern China. c) Pinctada margaritifera (black pearl oysters) Tahitian pearls are cultivated in the islands of South Pacific, particularly French Polynesia, the nearby Cook Islands, Micronesia, and Mexico. d) Hyriopsis cumingii (freshwater pearl oysters) Freshwater pearls are cultivated mainly in China, and a small production takes place in Japan and in the Mississippi River of the United States. e) Pteria penguin (mabe pearl oysters) Keshi pearls are from all of the above pearl farming areas. f) Mabe pearls are mainly from Japan, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.



a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i)

Farms are to be built where the natural conditions are favourable. Young molluscs are harvested. They grow until they reach the ideal size to be able to receive implants. Implants are often nacre balls coming from the shells in which pieces of mantles from other shells are added. Oysters are suspended on lines in order to be treated. Oysters are scanned in order to check if they are ready to receive an implant. A surgeon introduces the ball of nacre in shells. Oysters are re-immersed. Then, they need constant cares and will be regularly cleaned to be free of parasites and algae. Wonderful cultured pearls will be harvested, after a long period, and very delicate processes.


X. PEARL PRODUCTION – Volume and value
Production volume 2010 10 tons 8,5 tons 24 tons 10 tons Production volume 2009 8 tons 10 tons 25 tons 11 tons

White South Sea pearls Black pearls Akoya (Japan) Akoya (China) Freshwater pearls (China)

1500 tons

1000 tons


1552,5 tons

1054 tons

White South Sea pearls Black pearls Akoya (Japan) Akoya (China) Freshwater pearls (China)

Production value 2010 $ 236 000 000 $ $ $ 125 000 000 112 000 000 8 000 000

Production value 2009 $ 220 000 000 $ 120 000 000 $ 128 000 000 $ 8 000 000


150 000 000

$ 120 000 000



631 000 000

$596 000 000



Cultured pearl categories by production volume in 2005
0,64% 0,50% 2,20% White south sea pearls Black pearls Akoya pearls 96,60% Freshwater pearls

1. ELEMENTS OF EVALUATION ACCORDING TO EACH TYPE OF PEARL. a) Surface. b) Nacre. c) Lustre. d) Harmony of colours. e) Size.



Pearls are gems containing organic substance and water. Pearls are gems that need gentle care.

a) Wipe them regularly with a soft cloth moistened with water. b) Do not clean pearls with detergents. c) Avoid hair spray, perfume and other substances containing corrosive chemicals. d) To prevent scratching, pearl jewellery should be stored separately from diamond and precious stone jewellery. e) Restring pearl necklaces at regular intervals (except for Signed jewels they need gentle care.) f) Wipe them regularly with a soft cloth moistened with water. g) Do not clean pearls with detergents.




Value FAB Keshi Mabe Cultured pearls Cultured worked pearls Works out of pearls Total 2001 2008 Unité : 59 6 14 244 570 137 15 016 91 4 14 601 138 170 15 004 84 5 10 107 30 119 10 345 148 2 10 960 50 157 11 317 189 3 12 156 47 444 12 839 millions de f.CFP 117 100 2 2 10 943 10 577 35 2 945 1 422 12 042 12 103 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007




Japan is the first consumer of cultured akoya and south sea pearls. Those goods mostly go to Kobe (city of pearls), the place where pearls are cleaned, sorted, and pierced. In Australia, Paspaley is from far the greatest harvester of cultured south sea pearls. Indonesia after Australia and despite the meteorological whims which ruined the harvests remains the second producer of south sea pearls in the world. There, the industry is not strictly regulated, which makes it difficult to evaluate the volume of their production; which should be nevertheless a third of Australia’s. French Polynesia is the third. After the 80’s the Palawan Isles and Bugsuk were granted subsidies. Jewelmer International launched a huge project of development at that time. French Polynesia first farms were started in Bora Bora and in the Atoll of Hikueru. Robert Wan is the first producer and exporter there. Behind him 20 firms and 500 families are involved in this business and must be paid of all our respect for their success. Tahiti counts more or less 50 farms. The Cook Islands farms are still expanding, though conscious of their second place that Tahiti imposes on them. Philippines are the fourth. 4. CONSUMERS. Pearls offer new products, colors, sizes, new creative shapes; the image of pearls has shifted to a new modern image. They offer an interesting ratio price: 5000 $ for a carat of 6.5mm diamond, or 5000 $ for a cultured south sea pearl of 16.5mm! They offer a wide range of prices (they can be less than 100 $or more than 10 000$). They are for all seasons, all occasions, and all ages. Consumers all over the world spend every year more or less 5000 million US dollars for pearls. The consumer market is divided as such: USA JAPON EUROPE CHINA 1 SOUTH EAST ASIA OTHER COUNTRIES 30% 24% 18% 2% 10% 6%

The Middle East countries are spending more and more in pearl jewelry. 11

Prestigious marketing campaigns have been led, allowing pearls to be distributed through: Independent chains or jewelry departments. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Traditional outlets. High End jewelries. Fashion houses. Internet websites. Sales on catalogs. TV shows.


Probably the south sea pearls will continue to captivate the mind and spirit of international customers. Australia, Philippines, Indonesia will continue developing and reinforcing their positions. The interest for the technological improvement will grow, and pearls will become more beautiful. China will become the first producer of sea and freshwater pearls. Japan will keep a predominant place less by its production than as a trade place distributing harvests from the world. Farmers will draw the conclusions of years of overproductions with a lowering of the quality of pearls with which the pearl Industry destroyed itself in the 70’s. China will become the first producer of sea and freshwater pearls.

The rarity of pearls is synonymous to quality. Despite the high quantity of produced pearls, only 5% are high quality ones. To talk about over production means talking about low quality stocks. The demand for high quality pearls will always overcome the supply. On the 600 tons of Chinese pearls per year, the good quality ones which worth 2000$ to 3000 $ are only 5% , whereas the lower qualities from 350 dollars to 2000 dollars are 1third of the Chinese production, those around 350 dollars are 65%. When talking about overproduction of freshwater pearls, we refer to not round pearls, measuring at most 8 mm, and very bad quality ones. Pearl jewels are never showy, they are present and we do not value them at once. This is a certain idea of luxury to which pearls belong to.


Pearls: A Natural history. Landman, Milkkelsen, bieler, Bronson American Museum of Natural History, the Field Museum Harry N.Abraams Inc The Book of the Pearl. By Georges Frederic Kunz and Charles Hugh Stevenson Dover Publications Inc Perles de Culture: les cent premières années. Andy Muller Golay Group Perlen (German). Elizabeth Strack RÜHLE –Diebener- Verlag The Pearls Book- The definitive Buying Guide. Antoinette Matlins People and pearls. Ki Hakney and Diana Edkins Harper Collins Pearls- ornament and obsession Ristin Joyce and Sheillei Addison Simon and Schuster


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...mushrooms, lichens. Other organisms are everywhere, in the air, in water, soil and on our skin, but are too small to see with the naked eye—bacteria, viruses, protists (single celled eukaryotes such as amoebae), and tiny plants and animals. Life is remarkable in its complexity and diversity, and yet it all boils down to a very simple idea—the instructions for making all this life are written in nucleic acids, usually DNA. Most organisms have a set of DNA that contains the instructions for making that creature. This DNA contains four “letters” in which these instructions are written—A, T, G, and C. The only difference between the code for a dog and the code for a geranium is in the order of those letters in the code. If you took the DNA from a human and rearranged the letters in the right way, you could produce an oak tree—arrange them slightly differently and you would have a bumble bee—arrange them again and you would have the instructions for making a bacterium. Acting through more than two billion years, the process of evolution has taken one basic idea—a molecular code that uses four letters—and used it over and over, in millions of combinations to produce a dazzling array of life forms. As far as we know, we are the only creatures on the planet that have figured this out. The members of our species who get the credit for this discovery are James Watson and Francis Crick, although many others helped including Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin. Some believe......

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