The Politics Of Pearl Grading

Since ancient times, pearls have been admired for their mystery. People have marveled for centuries at the silky gem miraculously appearing inside the murky oyster. A perfect pearl's considerable value partly comes from this elusiveness, wooing consumers with the romantic prospect of owning an enigma of nature. Mystery, however, means bad business for some members of the cultured pearl industry. Though most pearl dealers in the world use personalized grading systems, there is no internationally accepted standard to communicate quality between companies and countries. Some in the pearl world want a universal quality classification system for cultured pearls. The call came most adamantly at a meeting of the World Cultured Pearl Organization directors in May in Kobe, Japan. Facing government deregulation and disbanding of their government-operated Pearl Export Inspection Offices in spri
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