Bahrain plans grading system for pearls

The purpose of the classification system is to standardise the grading of pearls

  
Workers sort artificially cultivated freshwater pearls at a pearl production factory in Zhuji, Zhejiang province in this April 23, 2008 file photo. Image for illustrative purposes.

Workers sort artificially cultivated freshwater pearls at a pearl production factory in Zhuji, Zhejiang province in this April 23, 2008 file photo. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Aly Song/Files

Bahrain - A new classification system for pearls, similar to the grading system for diamonds, is being developed in Bahrain.

Pearl experts from around the world gathered in Bahrain yesterday for a first-of-its-kind Pearl Symposium, which aims to shed light on Bahrain’s pioneering position, regionally and globally, in the pearl trade.

The two-day event is being organised by the Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones (Danat) at the Shaikh Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research in Muharraq.

Global

Danat chief executive Noora Jamsheer highlighted the importance of creating a system for pearls such as the 4Cs used for diamonds representing the four main components of its beauty and structure – cut, colour, clarity and carat.

“The purpose of the classification system is to standardise the grading of pearls so that it’s not subjective from one lab to the other, so that everybody is talking the same language about pearls,” she told the GDN on the sidelines.

“This will be an important stepping stone towards taking pearls to an international level, when you have standardisation that’s when people are able to associate value to a particular element of a pearl.

“Bahrain is definitely a major contributor to the natural pearl market, however, what is happening now is that in the pearl value chain Danat is servicing the divers, the Bahraini market and the regional market as well as the manufacturing market.

“We hope – with the standardisation, the symposium and the CIBJO Congress next week – to start raising awareness about Danat and Bahrain among consumers directly.

“It’s when the end consumer establishes a value for Danat that’s when Danat will really be global.”

She also praised corrective efforts currently underway within the global jewellery industry to combat the rise of lab-grown diamonds, which she hopes will have a positive effect on the natural pearl market by creating a conversation about cultured pearls among consumers.

“This is the first and it won’t be the last symposium and its purpose is to create a footprint for Bahrain on the international market,” she added.

“This is the only pearl specific symposium that is happening in the world and all the experts in the pearl industry are sharing their latest findings related to pearls.”

Supreme Council for Environment chief executive Dr Mohammed Bin Daina also said the symposium played a key part in highlighting Danat’s integral role in local and international market.

“Danat is not just a company that has a lab under the umbrella of Mumtalakat but it serves locals, foreigners and a whole industry,” he said.

“How can we revive the whole industry if we don’t have a testing arm to the quality of goods we have?”

Meanwhile, World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) president Dr Gaetano Cavalieri, who was also present at the opening, said the symposium will aid in further promoting Bahrain and its natural pearls across the globe.

Bahrain is hosting CIBJO’s annual meeting from Monday until Wednesday, where some of the world’s leading experts in gemstones and jewellery will gather.

Vision

“It is a fact all over the world that Bahrain is one of the very limited areas, if not a unique area, in which natural pearls may be found in a wonderful environment,” Dr Cavalieri told the GDN.

“This is obviously due to the vision of the government in having protected the environment that is an example to the rest of the world.”

The symposium will continue today with panel discussions and presentations by laboratory and industry experts from eight different countries.

Next week’s three-day conference will include sessions of CIBJO’s various committees, which will debate amendments to its Blue Books – the federation’s definitive directories of international industry standards for diamonds, coloured stones, pearls, gem labs and precious metals.

Members of the international jewellery confederation, which consists of national trade organisations, will come together at the Four Seasons Hotel, Bahrain Bay.

reem@gdn.com.bh

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