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Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part I

Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part I
After multiple flights and bus rides, we arrived in Guaymas, Mexico …
just as a tropical storm was winding down. The clouds were heavy and the gusts of wind warm and refreshing. Our hotel was built in the 1800’s and the architecture is gorgeous. Generous arches, hand carved wooden details and expansive plazas decorate the shoreline looking out over Bacochibampo Bay.
We finished the evening with Douglas McLaurin and his lovely wife Elisabeth eating ice cream made from local fruits, and wandering through down town. Douglas is an endless source of historic and scientific facts. I learned that Guaymas once boasted many foreign embassies and was a pivotal port for goods destined for the U.S.
Today the European architecture is what remains of that bustling time. Guaymas is also the home town of three Mexican presidents.
This morning I took my coffee in the shade of a giant cactus. Douglas picked me up for smoked marlin fish tacos for breakfast before heading to the farm.
The Sea of Cortez pearl farm consists of a gorgeous lofty white gift shop and offices.
The farmers and their staff have created a fantastic display of tools, shells and equipment to truly educate their guests in all the steps it takes to raise these very rare pearls. The jewelry store is lovely, and is complimented by two lovely ladies with warm smiles: Rocio Mendoza and Carolina Bazua. It boasts the work of many talented designers and artisans. The farm is really a destination in Guaymas and guided tours are given daily.
I’ve never seen a pearl shop with a better view!
The Sea of Cortez pearl farm crew work seamlessly.
Wise eyed men sing sweetly while bringing baskets of oysters in from the warm waters.
The oysters are opened and split in half.
Then comes the fun part! We SQUISH through the guts to find each and every pearl!
I was thankful for the full length aprons and matching boots!
Pearl harvesting is a messy business and these guys do it in style!
Enrique Arizmendi and Manuel Nava painstakingly record the pearl count and quality harvested from each basket.
After the pearls are harvested the shells and meat are separated.
The shells are cleaned and sorted. The best quality to be used as inlay, the others allowed to dry naturally. The meat is cleaned and cut to be sold as sea food.

The oysters used at the Sea of Cortez pearl farm are Pteria sterna .. Otherwise known as the “rainbow lipped shell”
It’s really no wonder!
Daniel Duarte, a very pleasant man, is in charge of web sales and photography and I must say I envy his job!

After harvesting was over we pored over the mabe pearl stock and matched pairs. Then we went for lunch in San Carlos.
We sat next to the harbor and learned that there is much truth in the description of it being a “drinking village with a fishing problem”

It was a fantastic first day and we’re looking forward to day two!
Being at a harvest is “what it’s all about”… The hokey pokey for a pearl dealer!!

 

 

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RUCKUS 2014 - Panel Discussion and Interview with Sarah Canizzaro

 

 

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ALL THE PEARL NEWS TO DATE

ALL THE PEARL NEWS TO DATE
Writing this slowly on a lazy Sunday morning here in Kowloon Hong Kong, before the Jewelry show starts tomorrow and the week of pearl shopping takes over my whole attention span. It’s been too long since I have updated this blog. Sometimes the pearl rolls so fast!
The December holiday sale, kept us more than a little busy, our strongest sale yet, with great reviews from online customers near and far… Thank you to all of you who shared the link for our sale with your friends.
January brought with it some much needed downtime and even a little vacation on the gorgeous north coast of California.
 
In January we were asked to estimate the value of a Quahog pearl for the local ABC station in Rhode Island : here is the link to our 20 seconds of fame!  http://ww.abc6.com/story/24521553/man-finds-pearl-while-eating-quahog  For the record… people who have found natural pearls usually have a fantastic imagination of the millions of dollars they are worth. If you quote a price between $800-$2000… all they hear is $2000! I did really enjoy watching the clip of Robert Morris, he has a great sense of humor.

 

The weeks leading up to our show in Tucson are always an exciting time. Full of planning and inspiration. We made a lot of news pieces for the show in Tucson, and the show was great. (even busier than last year) Overjoyed to see many old customers and to meet new ones as well. The highlights of the Tucson show for me were: having dinner with my friends of the Pearl-Guide world. Thank you to Jeremy and Hisano for once again hosting an elegant affair. This year the dinner was extra fun because it just so happened I was seated in the middle of a pearl farming information showdown! Jacques Branellec Jr.  of Jewelmer (fabulous golden South Sea pearl farmers from the Philipines … famous for their magnificent colors and quality) and Douglas and Enrique of the Sea of Cortez pearl farm in Guayamas Mexico (Mexico’s only pearl farm, producing incredible gems in the rainbow lipped oyster).  It was a Star Wars style laser battle of highly technical pearl farming biology and techniques… an epic friendly battle between attempting to “outwit” nature and being its adoring martyr. The other pearl luminaries I was honored to be seated with kept a healthy conversation, and the group .. at the behest of Elisabeth Strack spoke openly about having an International Pearl Culture Conference. A meeting similar to that of the Aqua Culture Conference in Hawaii in 1995, where information is freely shared and the event is held in the spirit of unity as opposed to overt advertising.  I am VERY much looking forward to this conference and hope that it will be soon! I always admire Elisabeth in any gathering, she is such a learned person, and an elegant woman with the most amazing listening skills. I aspire to be such a good listener! It was an amazing dinner, I learned more in a couple of hours than I had in years. As always we had a great time on the “Pearl Walk” with Lois Berger and her band of “pearl watchdogs”. I learned about a new technique of inserting a sponge like expanding nucleus into a  pearl oyster and allowing it to soak up the water and stretch the pearl sac, so that the second graft will produce a larger pearl. This method is creating some gigantic Tahitian baroque pearls … They have soft edges and resemble huge fresh water 2nd harvest pearls in shape. I also had the pleasure to chat with Gina Latendresse of American Pearl Company  . I received a great parcel of beautiful natural American fresh water pearls from her that I will be posting on the website in the coming weeks.

With only 9 days between getting home from Tucson and leaving for Asia on a pearl buying trip… I barely had enough time to unpack, get a cold, have a birthday, fill the orders from Tucson, sleep and pack again… but by the grace of pearl fairies everywhere we made the flight! Tokyo is always fun, bright lights, quirky and  polite people,  and fantastic food. On our second day in Japan, we went to see our dear friends, the farmers at Lake Kasumi ga Ura. We spent the day with them, talking about their latest harvest, drinking tea and of course looking at pearls.  Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for the addition of new Japan Kasumi pearls to our website. We had a lovely mini vacation in Japan.  We accompanied Fuji to his childhood home in Miyanoshita Japan. We visited the shop where the original Pacific Pearls store was in the 1950’s. We visited the Fujiya hotel where Fuji and his sister Aloha were frequent visitors at the heated pool as children… and we visited Lake Ashi where Fuji’s father Rudolf was an avid swimmer. We spent a wonderful time at a hot springs in Hakone … with a view of Mt. Fuji from the pools! WOW what a magical experience, to sit in a natural hot spring with snow on the ground and Mt. Fuji in the distance. We were very lucky to have this view despite the winter weather.

All of this leads up to being in Hong Kong , my home away from home. Looking out at the view of the Central sky line and waiting waiting waiting for the show to open tomorrow. I will spend the afternoon on Mui Wo with my old friend… saving money by NOT shopping for clothes 
 With thanks and the promise to post more photos of pearls soon. Sincerely, Sarah
 
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