Trying to keep an ear to the pearling rails these days is a thankless task. Almost as fruitless as keeping one’s nose to the pearl grindstone.
Chats with some longtime pearl dealers in the States and abroad doesn’t bring tears of joy to one’s eyes because everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) is crying the blues. Those that aren’t are blowing smoke up others’ nether regions, that is. Or whistling tunes in the graveyard... both being essentially the same aimless endeavors these days.
What I have come away with is that the old ways of doing business in the pearl world are gone forever. For example: respected U.S. dealers are questioning whether the expenses and troubles of mounting exhibits at shows such as Tucson and Las Vegas are worthwhile anymore.
Show sponsors take note! Overcrowded and expensive events all over– particularly those entailing time-consuming, long distance travel– will surely cause movement away from the traditional mind-set of the past.
Look at what occurred with Dubai’s incredibly poorly executed and horribly quixotic gamble to establish a viable pearling event amongst those distant and once-gilded desert sands. I recently saw a report where only one house has been built on World (those many man-made islands that were going to usher in a new infusion of largesse to the region) and that some 5,000 imported, indentured laborers a day are fleeing back to their home countries.
Maybe the Sands Convention Center people knew what they were doing when they cut the JCK Show loose. I know the taxicab drivers hated the show (Easterners were loathe to tip) and the hotel-casinos wanted the show to leave town because so many exhibitors stayed up in their rooms and played gin rummy or mah-jongg with each other rather than gambling (gamboling, too).