GemNotes – Chinese Pearls a Hit in Tucson

What will be popular this year in pearls and colored gems? There’s no better place to find out than at the annual February extravaganza of 25 overlapping gem shows in Tucson. This year, pearls were the talk of the town, as they were in 1998. But last year’s main attraction, black Tahitian cultured pearls, stepped aside to make room for Chinese freshwater cultured pearls. They upstaged everything else. That’s saying a lot, because among the highlights of this year’s shows were the most outstanding color-change garnets from Madagascar ever seen and some incredibly beautiful, large, clean Nigerian pinkish-red to purplish-pink tourmalines. Here’s our report. Chinese Freshwater Pearls Judging by the foot-high piles of freshwater Chinese cultured pearl hanks at every show, the science of growing multiple near-round pearls in freshwater mollusks clearly has become an art in the

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