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                                                    PEARLS TO THE WORLD

                                                                                                             By: James L. Peach, Sr.
Before the PEARL REVOLUTION, began at the turn of the 20th century, brought about by Kokichi Mikimoto, the pearl world was very simple. “if you had a pearl it was a real natural pearl”! There was no problem with pearl terminology!  When K. Mikimoto was successful in commercially culturing pearls, this historic event was to forever change how we consider pearls. The twentieth century was, without a doubt, the century that opened a whole new world of pearls. From Father Abraham, of old, until the Japanese Pearl Icon, Kokichi Mikimoto, only the rich and famous could enjoy pearls. After the successful discovery of pearls culturing by Mikimoto, we saw many new entries into the world of pearls over the next 100 years. Now we have not only Akoya cultured pearls, but we have South Sea pearls from many places in the Pacific Ocean, freshwater pearls grown in China and Japan, plus Mabe pearls grown in many countries. Volumes could be written about all of the complexities of pearls, both natural and cultured.
All over the world, cultured pearls are referred to as pearls, by the trade as well as people in general. While we connossiers of natural pearls would like to reserve the word “pearl” for only natural pearls, that would be like the “tail wagging the dog”. The word PEARL is used to describe all types of pearls and the word “pearl” cannot be reserved for “natural pearls” only, no matter how hard we try. The current restrictions on the use of the word “pearl” is passé and should be change as the people of the world demand it. Another point of interest, many professionals in the trade believe the word “pearl” should only be used in describing saltwater natural pearls and not freshwater natural pearls! This is a “blatant bias” and should be discouraged strongly.
Mikimoto, and other after him, created the pearls that were cultured, and allowed millions of women throughout the world to enjoy beautiful pearls! These millions of women refer to their cultured pearls as pearls, therefore the women have won and nothing we “say or do here today will change that”.

The words “natural pearls” should be reserved for real natural pearls! Natural pearls are very rare, in fact, most people in the trade and the world have never seen a natural pearl. Natural pearls are only a”blip on the radar” of the world of pearls. So, we can conclude, that natural pearls have importance to a very small number of people in the world, of which I am one of the few! So we should secure the “natural pearl” description for the few, while at the same time accommodating the world, as they enjoy their pearls that happen to be cultured. To lovers of natural pearls, natural pearls are a passion that affects most aspects of our lives and that will never change, as we continue to search for “the natural pearl of great price”!