Pearls Gone Wild!

If it's Friday in Tucson, it's time for our annual pearl walk. We take to the floor of the American Gem Trade Association GemFair with a team of pearl experts and visit several pearl exhibitors, gathering information and listening to opinions. Pearl expert Lois Berger, Fuller & Associates, McLean, Va., who reviews pearls for The GemGuide, Glenview, Ill., leads the team and maps out our plan of attack. We start with Gina Latendresse, American Pearl Co., Nashville, Tenn., who focuses on rare and unusual natural pearls. She has a half dozen or so Quahog pearls (pronounced kó-hog) from the North Atlantic coast, priced at $200–$1,000 per carat. Colors are light mottled grayish-pinkish-purple, and sizes range up to 9 mm. In addition, she has about a half dozen golden yellow Vietnamese Melo Melos, priced at $500-$1,500 per carat, with sizes up to 20 mm, as well as several natural Missi

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