Plunging Into the Freshwater Pearl Revolution

With metal and diamond prices rising, the value and appeal of fine quality freshwater pearls is becoming a lot more obvious.On a buying trip to Zhuji, China, in March, Peter Bazar stumbled upon what he thought was a deal on 600 strands of 12 mm–13 mm white Chinese freshwater pearls. “I thought the price was good but I was a little nervous,” says the president of Imperial, a 119-year-old firm in East Providence, R.I., of purchasing such a huge volume of strands with no buyer in mind. Still, he pulled the trigger, emailing images of the hanks to seven different clients. Within three days, Bazar had received two competing offers to buy everything.So as not to lose a sale, Bazar sold the first lot of 600 to the first respondent, and another lot of 500—which the farmers frantically scrambled to put together—to the second. Upon returning home, Bazar bought and sold yet another lot of

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