Submitted by Grimace-sama
I received this account from another attendee of the Hong Kong Jewellery Fair.
I am admittedly in a bleak mood when contemplating pearldom these days.
In the recent issue of Pearl World: The International Pearling Journal, I was reminded of Stephen Bloom’s opus, Tears of Mermaids, due to come out next month. This book, if you remember, chronicles Bloom’s journey throughout the pearl world, meeting movers and shakers, magnates and journeymen, princes and peons. It is a snapshot of the pearl world as it used to be not too long ago.
But it is about as relevant as using a Civil War daguerreotype as a reference point when trying to assess the processes of modern warfare in the Middle East today.
I just returned from Asia and saw for myself what a hole pearldom has dug for itself. At the HK Show it was apparent that rodents were leaving the sinking ships in droves. Stalwarts in the Autore SSP camp such as Atlas, Arafura and Blue Seas were seen marketing directly on their own (with little apparent success, it appeared). The Paspaley and Wan auctions were about the same as ever, attendance-wise with the usual subjects, but movement of goods seemed quite constrained. Tahitian goods, lowering in quality likewise, seem mired in a price free fall, with little or no hope for many moons (years?) to come. And the bloom seemed to be off Chinese freshwater pearls, as fine goods were scarcer than ever, and qualities were sorely diminished (one reason: it is said that rice farming is now more profitable than pearl farming).
I wish I could break into a smile or a frenzied tarantella, but it is hard to stay agreeable when one’s stiff upper lip is just about chewed off as the pearling malaise continues its spread, much like the H1N1 flu these days.
With no vaccine in sight.