Continuing with the video series from the 2014 Pearl-Guide Ruckus in Palos Verdes, here is Josh Humbert of Kamoka Pearls giving a presentation about his life on a Tahitian pearl farm and about effecting change with sustainable pearl farming.
As promised, here is the first of several videos shot at the 2014 Pearl-Guide Ruckus held in Palos Verdes Estates, California.
Douglas McLaurin gives a fantastic overview of the Mexican pearl industry and specifically what impacts his pearl farm has on the environment.
I love Tahitian pearls. More specifically, I love the dark exotic colors of Tahitian pearls – the colors found almost exclusively in smaller size ranges. Large Tahitian pearls are highly valued, but often lack the color and luster of their smaller counterparts because larger pearls most often come from larger, older pearl oysters. As the oyster ages, it begins to lose the ability to produce fine pearl nacre. But what if there were a way to induce small, young pearl oysters into growing larger pearls?
A company out of Japan by the name of Imai Seikaku has developed a new sort of nucleus that comes in the shape of a small blue pill. This is no ordinary nucleus, but one that is composed of a super-absorbent organic substance which soaks up surrounding liquids and expands. As it expands it begins to “blow out the pearl sac,” as my friend and pearl farmer Josh Humbert of Kamoka Pearls put it. It essentially induces even a small, young pearl oyster to grow a large pearl sac where an equally large nucleus can be placed.
When harvested, the first graft pearl is free-form in shape and filled with liquid substance, which when drained, leaves a hollow Tahitian pearl. Unlike freshwater soufflé pearls from China, hollow pearls can’t be legally exported from Tahiti so they’re discarded. In their place farmers insert large, baroque nuclei. This second graft results in giant bead-nucleated Provoked Baroques that intentionally look indistinguishable from massive keshi pearls except in one way – they have screaming luster and intensely dark colors. They are even better than traditional keshi and much larger than average keshi.
The technology is still in its infancy and production to date has been very limited. Most pearl wholesalers have yet to hear about this new type of gem let alone offer them. Josh Humbert is one of the few pearl farmers that has been experimenting with the organic, shape-shifting nuclei and believes that there is potential to use the technology to eventually grow large, colorful round pearls. In the meantime, we get to enjoy a new type of pearl!
Two and a half years ago I took a trip around the world with a film crew, shooting pearl farms in some of the remotest reaches of the world. It was on this trip that our short Tahitian Pearl Documentary was filmed – the same documentary that went on to win the 2013 IFFF Short Film, Documentary award.
The crew that I traveled with, from On the Reel Productions, is still traveling and shooting today, most recently on a pearl farm in Northwest Australia – beyond the outback, where crocodiles outnumber people.
On the Reel Productions is owned by Ahbra Perry and Taylor Higgins, a pair of young filmmakers that have spent the past four years working closely with the pearl industry, visiting a total of 11 different countries. They’ve succeeded in capturing the real story of pearl production and the relationships pearl producers have with local communities and Mother Nature, with boots on the ground and flippers in the water.
I’ve also invited Ahbra to do a short series of guest posts on our blog, detailing a day in the life of a pearl farming crew, as told by her experience in Australia. I hope everyone enjoys her story.
Two years ago I was approached by a board member of the Cultured Pearl Association of America about a project that they had in mind. They wanted to send a film crew around the world, shooting pearl farms in China, Japan, Fiji, the Philippines and French Polynesia. I was asked to accompany the team to be the guide/interpreter/pearl expert.
My first thought was that it would be impossible to leave my company for the full month it would take to film in so many different locations, but after careful consideration I decided that not only should I go along, I had to go along.
As part of the deal, I have full rights to all the film shot on the trip and now have hard drives with hours upon hours of footage shot in some of the most exotic locations on the planet. To date, I’ve only used the footage from French Polynesia to produce the video below, but more videos are coming.
This was shot on the atoll of Takaroa in French Polynesia. Takaroa is a two-hour flight from Papeete and is as remote as it gets.
I hope you enjoy the show!