China Aims To Control Pearl Production

China won't be the ruination of the world pearl market. So says He Nai Hua, general manager of China's National Pearl, Diamond, Gem and Jewelry Import and Export Corp. His comment comes in reaction to growing concern about the huge quantity of freshwater and rising number of akoya pearls produced in China. He conservatively estimates China produced 308 metric tons of pearls in 1994 - more than double Japanese estimates of Chinese output but 25% below some other estimates. (By contrast, Japan produces 15 metric tons of pearls annually.) Akoyas - the vast majority of them under 7mm - accounted for eight tons of China's production. China's pearls are improving in quality and are a lower-cost alternative to Japanese pearls, says He. In the U.S., for example, some pearl dealers have absorbed much of a 25% increase in the yen/dollar exchange rate that affected Japanese akoya prices last
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