Got $8 Million Dollars For An 800 Year Old Precious Pearl?

It has been passed down for 800 years, from Chinese emperors to Marco Polo. The name of its current owner is a secret. But Thursday, hundreds of people will get the chance to buy the world’s largest natural pearl on the market.

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Arco Valley Pearl

Maybe you too can get a shot at the action!

The “Arco Valley Pearl” – 3.1 inches in length – will be up for bidding at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace and on the Internet, where it is estimated to fetch up to $8 million.

The 575-carat pearl from 12th century Mongolia once belonged to Chinese emperors, Persian kings, the grandson of Genghis Khan and Marco Polo.

The value of the saltwater pearl is based on its size, color, weight, exclusivity, history and records of what people have been prepared to pay for similar precious items.

“It’s 800 years old and it still takes your breath away,” said Khaled al-Sayegh, 35, a jeweler from Abu Dhabi and chairman of the organizing committee for Thursday’s event.

Arco Valley is only the biggest pearl up for sale in the world.

The 9.45-inch Pearl of Allah is the world’s largest. It was found by a diver off the Philippine island of Palawan in 1934 and is stored in a museum in that country.

The Arco Valley pearl, named after a previous owner from Austria’s Arco Valley family dynasty, is white with a touch of blue, mixed with pink and cream colors on its sides. It has been drilled three times: to fit among the jewels of an unknown woman’s tiara, to go with a ceremonial mandarin suit and to fit a crown or turban decorated with precious stones belonging to a Persian king.

It has since been restored to its original shape.

Truly an incredible pearl with an awesome history!

Via: AOL

Pearls the Size of “Gumballs”!

A natural pearl necklace that once belonged to a maharajah sold at an auction at Christie’s on Wednesday for nearly $7.1 million, more than double the world record price for any piece of natural pearl jewelry, the auctioneers said.

Christie’s said the buyer of the Baroda Pearls, which once belonged to the Maharajah Khande Rao of Baroda, was an Asian private collector, who bid by phone.

Bidding for the piece, which featured pearls as big as gumballs, lasted about 3 minutes in a packed auction room.

The Baroda Pearls is a two-strand necklace of natural pearls that was strung with 68 of the finest and largest pearls from a seven-row necklace.

“The pearls sold at about what we estimated them to make and more than double the last world record price for a natural pearl necklace,” Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry for Christie’s America, said after the auction.

The previous record was set by Christie’s in Geneva in November 2004 at $3.1 million, for a two-strand natural pearl necklace.

Nancy Pelosi Responsible For A Huge Spike In Pearl Jewelry Sales!

Maybe it’s just because she is the first female speaker of the house…who knows..

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..but Nancy Pelosi’s wardrobe has been getting a ton of attention of late with most of the discussion revolving around her signature strand of South Sea Cultured Pearls, which are estimated to cost around 80k!!

Many bricks and mortar, as well as internet jewelers are now reporting a very profitable Holiday selling season for pearl strands and pearl jewelry which they are clearly attributing to the new speaker of the house, who has just made Blackwell’s best dressed list.

So there you have it……Nancy Pelosi is literally driving sales for timeless pearl strands and pearl jewelry!

Federal Trade Commission To Re-Consider the use of the term “Cultured”.

Eleven trade associations lined-up in support of protecting consumers from deceptive or unfair business practices from use of term cultured to describe jewelry other than pearl.

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Led by the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) and in association with 10 other jewelry industry associations, the group filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to amend “the FTC Guides,” (FTC Guidelines for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries) to add the term “cultured” to the list of terms that are unfair or deceptive to use in conjunction with manufactured jewelry industry products.

The group request that the FTC pass the proposed amendment for several reasons:
· To protect consumers from deceptive or unfair business practices that can occur when the term “cultured” is used in conjunction with jewelry industry products other than pearls.
· To protect consumers from associating the phrase “cultured diamond” with a natural product or gemstone grown naturally with human intervention.
· To justify continued consumer confidence in the jewelry industry.

Cecilia L. Gardner, JVC’s president, CEO and general counsel said, “The jewelry guidelines provide explicit standards for trade practices in the jewelry industry. Given the widespread confusion and misconception found among consumers when asked about the meaning of ‘cultured’ when applied to products other than pearl, we felt it was important to ask the FTC to amend the Guides. The guides should address the important issue of full disclosure of the true nature of laboratory created jewelry products.“

Associations in support of the FTC adjusting the Guides, so far, include American Gem Society, American Gem Trade Association, The World Jewellery Confederation, Cultured Pearl Association, Diamond Council of America, Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America, International Diamond Manufacturers Association, Jewelers of America, Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America, and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.

Gardner said that she is pleased the effort includes both United States-based and worldwide organizations.

Ruth Batson, executive director and CEO of American Gem Society, said, “Consumers’ high regard for cultured pearls require the FTC to amend the Guides to prevent confusion, deception and mistrust that is likely to result from the use of the term ‘cultured’ in conjunction with materials other than pearl.”

The submission to the FTC includes substantial consumer survey data indicating widespread confusion in consumers’ understanding of the term “cultured” when applied to products other than pearls.

The staff of the Consumer Enforcement Division of the FTC will now consider the contents of the petition with its accompanying consumer survey data and determine if there is sufficient grounds to issue a Federal Register notice which could solicit comments from the trade on whether the Guides should be amended.

Visit: www.jvclegal.org. for more information on this issue.

Holiday Gift Spending To Increase, Says Report.

Shoppers buying gifts this holiday season will spend an average of more than $1,000 each, according to a new study from Unity Marketing.

This represents an 8 percent increase over last year’s average holiday gift budget of $928.

So far this year, consumers have spent an average of $1,034 on gifts, 20 percent more than last year, according to Unity Marketing’s quarterly “Gift Tracker” survey, which monitors gift givers’ purchases.

If consumers continue buying gifts at this rate, average gift-spending could exceed $2,250 for the entire year, a 12 percent increase over last year. A quarter of consumers polled have already spent $169 on Christmas gifts, according to the survey.

Unity Marketing expects top gift categories to include gift certificates; gourmet gifts like wine, spirits and chocolate; and “little luxuries” like soaps, candles and home fragrances.

The Gift Tracker survey takes quarterly polls of 800 gift-buying consumers, tracking what gifts they have purchased, why they purchased the gifts and where they bought them.

Diamond & Jewlery at Retail: How Much Money Is Involved?

The US jewelry retail industry generates annual revenues of about $44 billion from 28,000 specialty, department, and discount stores. Specialty retailers hold about 50 percent of the market. Wal-Mart is the biggest jewelry retailer in the country, followed by Zale, the biggest specialty jeweler with over 2,000 stores and kiosks. The industry is highly fragmented: the top 10 jewelry chains hold less than 25 percent of the market. Other large specialty retailers are Tiffany and Sterling, the US branch of British jeweler Signet Group.

Jewelry sales depend partly on consumer income. Small jewelers can effectively compete with large chains because price isn’t the main factor determining retail sales. Profitability depends on the volume of sales because sales costs are high and fixed. Because gross margins are very high, often 50 percent, mass merchants like Wal-Mart have taken market share by controlling costs and cutting prices.

Jewelry is often classified as bridal merchandise (engagement, bridal and anniversary rings – about 35 percent of the market); fashion jewelry (rings, bracelets, earrings, pins, gold chains); and watches, silver flatware, and other giftware. Diamond jewelry and loose diamonds account for the largest share of total jewelry store sales (46 percent); gold jewelry for 11 percent; colored gemstone jewelry (rubies, sapphires, emeralds, etc.) 9 percent; and watches 4 percent.

Zales COO Resigns.

Management shifts continue at Zale Corp. as the company announced the departure of another top executive, Sue Gove, executive vice president, chief operating officer and member of Zale’s board of directors.

Gove resigned as an officer and director effective immediately, according to a Zale release issued Thursday. She follows former CEO Mary Forte and former Zales Jewelers’ president Paul Leonard, both of whom left the company earlier this year.

“The company would like to thank Sue for her many contributions over the last 25 years, and we wish her well in her future endeavors,” Richard Marcus, chairman of Zale’s board of directors, said in the statement. “We are very appreciative of the talent, dedication and passion she brought to the business.”

Zale is currently operating with an interim CEO, Betsy Burton, and has not named a successor to Forte.

Expect a continued Management shake-up at Zales who have been losing money at a rapid rate as we have chronicled here: Zales Loss . Increased competition from the Internet and the flight to diamond and jewelry quality by consumers are a few of the reasons for Zales downward spiral.

I hope the Zales Board of Directors at least gave her a Gold Watch on her way out the door.

Mikimoto Pearls and GIA Team Up For You.

With a $120,000 donation Mikimoto (America) Co., Ltd. has established the Mikimoto Pearls Course Scholarship at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Starting in 2006, the program will provide 10 scholarships to Distance Education students each year, GIA announced Friday. Mikimoto America President Mitsuhiro Mitsui,, said he was honored to establish the first-ever pearls scholarship to make the GIA course available to more people, particularly retail sales associates. In recognition of the gift, Mitsui will be inducted into the League of Honor at GIA’s annual dinner on Sept. 19 in New York.

“We value GIA as the industry leader in education,” Mitsui said in GIA’s release. “Mikimoto is always expanding its training in the quality of pearls, so we look to GIA for teaching what we value the most—quality.”

The Pearls course covers GIA’s seven Pearl Value Factors (size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality, and matching) among other key topics, all of which help set industry guidelines, according to Robert Artelt, senior vice president of retail and marketing for Mikimoto (America) Co., Ltd.

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GIA and Mikimoto have previously worked together to resolve industry issues. During the 1990s, researchers from both organizations studied unusually large (10+ mm), near-spherical, freshwater cultured pearls from China that were causing many to question their nucleation process, which the two organizations ultimately concluded was traditionally created.

“Mikimoto’s longstanding dedication to the Institute and to the quality assurance of cultured pearls aptly culminates in their new Pearls course scholarship opportunity,” said GIA President William E. Boyajian. “By supporting GIA’s efforts to teach many more in the industry about cultured and natural pearls, Mikimoto is helping us uphold our public service mission.”

Mikimoto previously gave GIA $500,000 to help build the Institute’s world headquarters in Carlsbad. The Mikimoto Rotunda was named in its honor.