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Sea of Cortez Pearls IN FLIGHT

Sea of Cortez Pearls IN FLIGHT
I just got an email from Douglas McLaurin of the Sea of Cortez pearl farm in Guaymas Mexico that they were featured in this months issue of Delta Sky Magazine! 
It's a great read and we are so proud of our farmer friends! 
This article explains exactly how rare these pearls are and how a strand of these gems is a true collectors piece! 
We love these pearls and are honored to use them in our jewelry! 

Congratulations Sea of Cortez pearl farm... "keep climbing"!

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Sun Shadows Cortez Pearl Necklace

Sun Shadows Cortez Pearl Necklace

Making this very special piece was a journey.

I chose these micro mabe pearls from the farmers of Sea of Cortez pearls in Guaymas, Mexico one by one.

The Cortez pearl farm is the ONLY saltwater pearl farm in North America...and as you have probably guessed by now...we are in LOVE with their magical colors. Grown in the Pteria sterna oysters in the flourishing and protected waters they are also known as "rainbow lipped oysters" 

Micro mabe pearls are appx. 8-9mm in diameter and are hand cut one at a time at the farm on Bacochibampo Bay. 

At the center of this 19" long necklace hangs a 2.5" detachable pendant of graduating sizes of mabe pearls with a gigantic gem of 1.5" in length. 

We hand set each of these mabe pearls on a sterling silver seat, and each one is bezel set with 14K yellow gold. 

The clasp is made of 18K yellow gold and the necklace can be shortened or lengthened as suits your style. 

It is a testament to the wide world of pearls to be able to work across a border to create such a stunning piece. 

From a sustainable farm in Mexico to the hands of our jeweler here in San Rafael California...this piece took many months to produce.

For more information on Cortez Pearls please see our about the pearls page. 

(last photo credit goes to the wonderful Wendy Fairchild)

 

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Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part III

Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part III
Here are some photos of the pearls we bought from our recent trip to the Sea of Cortez pearl farm in Guaymas Mexico.
Introducing the “NATIONAL” strand of Sea of Cortez pearls:
This necklace is made of 47 natural color near round (soft baroque) Sea of Cortez pearls ranging in size from 9.1-11.1mm. The strand was assembled by Manuel Nava using what he calls “national grade” pearls (he is a huge football (soccer) fan. The pearls in this strand were collected from harvest spanning the last 7 YEARS! Manuel finished the necklace just a couple of weeks before we arrived and it was love at first sight for me. I was so floored by the mix of colors. It is such an amazing representation of the natural colors of Sea of Cortez pearls. The first photo was taken in our studio and the next photo was taken in Mexico (with my phone!) As you can see the colors of these pearls change dramatically in different lighting conditions. The surfaces of the pearls in this strand are very clean, there are small dimples in the surfaces of a few of the pearls… but it is the range of colors that makes this strand so special.. that and the fact that having personally participated in the harvest process, I can attest that a strand of this quality is EXTREMELY RARE. The finished length is 20.5″ long and currently finished with a 14K yellow gold clasp (which can be easily changed if you desire a different style or different color thread). It is a joy to be able to introduce this strand. 

Learn more about a  fascinating experiment using water to filter light and inspect pearl colors!

conducted by none other than the farmers of Sea of Cortez pearls themselves!

We also loaded up on the infamous “mini mabe” pearls that are hand cut at the Sea of Cortez pearl farm, using their trademark Pteria sterna Rainbow Lipped Oyster.

If you have a design in mind for one or some of these, feel free to email us!

 

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Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part II

Sea of Cortez pearl harvest part II
The farmers of Sea of Cortez pearls met while they were studying Marine Biology here in Guaymas. These three brilliant men: Douglas McLaurin, Enrique Arizmendi and Manuel Nava are all very different personalities but share a love of science, history and especially the ocean.
They are men of facts.

In 1991, long before a single oyster was nucleated here, the farmers of Cortez pearls spent a huge amount of time gathering what was left of the native Pteria sterna “rainbow lipped” oysters and fostering a repopulation following their near extinction.

The earliest chronicles of boat captains and Jesuit priests reported leagues upon leagues of pearl beds in the Sea of Cortez.  These accounts were recorded after the arrival of the Spaniards following the conquest of Mexico City in 1523. Over-fishing by the Spaniards and the freshly created nation of Mexico led to dramatic losses.

The creation of the Hoover dam greatly effected the Sea of Cortez and led to near extinction of many species. For thousands of years the Colorado River had supplied fresh water to the Gulf of California. Upon the completion of the dam, that fresh water dried up and changed the salinity balance of the entire gulf, killing some species of fish and robbing all others of oxygen rich waters.

Click here for an article by Douglas McLaurin to read more about these fascinating historical events and learn about the great Japanese Conspiracy in the Sea of Cortez!


Pearls oysters/mollusks are the “canaries” of their environs. They cannot survive in polluted water.
Small scale pearl farms such as the Sea of Cortez pearl farm, Kamoka and the fresh water pearls grown in Lake Kasumi ga Ura Japan are actually GREAT for the environment!

In the case of Sea of Cortez pearls the farmers created a generous no-fishing zone around their farm and all species have flourished there, which in turn has brought greater health to the entire bay… (By giving shelter to fish, the populations have increased, which in turn makes the fishermen happier, which in turn makes a brighter community of people)

As I sit here looking out over Bacochibampo Bay I can easily see how bountiful this place must have been hundreds of years ago. The contrast of the quartz  studded desert and the clear blue sea is the making of true paradise. Sonoran hospitality, warm smiles everywhere you look, and a calm easy pace of living has made this one of my new favorite places on earth.

Morning light on the fountain.

Native cacti in bloom.

A beautiful stained glass window depicting Cortez in our hotel.

A spur from a Spanish solider, part of Manuel’s collection.

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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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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
 
Stay tuned for our upcoming sale! If you haven’t done so already please sign up for the newsletter to receive the coupon code before it’s posted elsewhere.
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