Market Visit, Part II: A Day of Education at the Pearl Ruckus

An incredible day of education accompanied by one-of-a-kind camaraderie

A cocktail-fueled kickoff party on Friday, July 29, at the swanky Palazzo Beverly Hills—the location for this year’s Ruckus—welcomed and warmed up guests for the education portion that occurred the following morning. It was a full and fabulous day of talks with a room full of about 30 female consumers and some spouses—all non-jewelry-industry guests—seated and ready to soak up fresh pearl knowledge!

The speakers were all from industry and included:

–Douglas McLaurin of Sea of Cortez Pearls spoke about little-known types of Mexican pearls

–Josh Humbert talked about his Kamoka Pearl farm in Tahiti

–Mike Rivers talked about his pearl nuclei business

–Blair Beavers of talked about pearl misrepresentation on eBay

–Sarah Canizarro of Kojima Pearls talked about Kasumi pearls from Lake Kasumigaura in Japan’s Jeremy Shepherd and’s Kevin Canning talked about a new educational initiative that will be available from the Cultured Pearl Association of America

–And I did a presentation on designers who use pearls in innovative ways


Yours truly talking designer pearl jewelry with consumer attendees at the 2016 Pearl Ruckus


Blaire Beavers gave a fantastic presentation on pearls purchased on eBay. The big takeaway: buyer beware.


The Ruckus was hosted by Jeremy and Hisano Shepherd of and little h jewelry to thank their pearl influencers.

The collectors in attendance all met on, which touts itself as the “world’s largest pearl information source.” One woman whose screen ID was CathyKeshi hailed from just north of me, near Lehigh County in Pennsylvania. She was a retiree who brought her husband and a spectacular strand of metallic freshwater pearls that she called her “rose gold strand.” They were mesmerizing! Another attendee—a young woman whose name I forget—was also present with her partner. The pair visited from the Chelsea section of New York City, and both wore several long strands of pearls (Tahitians and akoyas) over the course of the weekend. Still another guest came all the way from the U.K., and told me her trip was years in the planning and that she hoped to acquire some South Sea pearls.


These non-jewelry-industry millennials from New York City attended the Ruckus because she loves pearls!


Sarah Canizarro styles a pearl lover in the market for a new piece.

All the collectors were so lovely to meet and knowledgeable about pearls—much more so than most people I meet in industry. And based on their presence (you could come only if you were invited by Jeremy or Kevin) and the pearls they brought and wore, they were clearly a jeweler’s dream clientele! And this is why Jeremy has continued to host them in high-end accommodations with catering, education, and shopper-tunities (with many of the speakers, from guest to guest, and at Pearl Paradise) every year for nearly 10 years.

“These are my influencers,” Jeremy told me after the Friday night cocktail party. “And this year is our biggest Ruckus yet with about 40 people. Many look forward to this all year.”

After all the education was over on Saturday, just about all of the speakers broke out merchandise to sell. These women were ready to shop! Each vendor set up a station in a different part of the mansion, and the attendees traveled around to each with either a little mental list of items they were looking for or simply to see what caught their eye. I even got swept up in the frenzy, buying myself a mother-of-pearl necklace and a few gifts, all from Kamoka Pearls. And this was just part one of the shopping—more was to come.


Shopping Kamoka Pearls jewelry on the patio after a day of education

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