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  1. #91
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by knotty panda
    ?still anxiously awaiting the debut photos.
    (P. Maculata thread)

    Did post a couple I was able to salvage from an incorrect camera light setting and now await photo shoot at Pearl Paradise end of this month to capture the poe pipi pieces properly?will post!

    Steve
    Seattle

  2. #92
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    The appraisal still IS on the Website, but the link disappeared shortly after I posted to this thread. You can still see it here, however:
    http://www.pearlforpeace.org/appraisal.tif
    Who knows, that may disappear within the hour as well.

    In this appraisal Steenrod clearly states he was also the author of the '92 appraisal. The appraisal has Steenrod's home address, telephone number, and full name on it, followed by "gemologist", the apparent credential.

    But guess what, I am not the first to question his credentials or appraisal. You can find this article with an easy google search. Apparently Steenrod himself admitted to the appraisal in court, yet also admitted he was not qualified to prepare the appraisal. I do not think anyone here would disagree with that assertion.

    PEARLS OF WISDOM

    Gemologist has no standing to evaluate stone's value

    The largest pearl in the world is not a rock. It isn't even a gem. Michael Steenrod was hired by the plaintiffs in a civil action to prepare an appraisal ("Widefield gemologist reflects on life on the rocks," Metro, Aug. 3). He was also a witness for the plaintiffs in conjunction with that civil action. By Steenrod's own testimony, "'The Pearl' is a religious artifact." Steenrod has no credentials with respect to appraising an artifact of any kind. He is certified to appraise gemstones (jewelry).

    During the trial, Steenrod viewed documentation that the last sale price of "The Pearl" was $200,000, purchased in 1981 in California from the William Cobb estate. He then stated he had never been provided with this information prior to his appraisal and he could not justify the 300,000 percent increase in its value. Steenrod went on to state and agree he was not qualified to do valuations regarding artifacts.
    Tina Hays
    Steenrod was gemologist for the plaintiff and had absolutely no basis from which to valuate the pearl. He claims carbon dating that cannot exist as fact, which bolsters the credibility of a fabricated legend. He was a paid witness. He had no qualifications to appraise the pearl. In fact, there are only a couple people in the world who would have the qualifications.

    How about this article where Steenrod testifies (probably even with a straight face) that the pearl really did come from Lao Tzu.

    Fourteen-pound pearl at center of wrongful death lawsuit in contract killing

    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    January 7, 2005

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP)

    Colorado gemologist Michael Steenrod testified at a hearing Thursday that the pearl was created by Tao philosopher Lao Tzu more than 2,500 years ago. Tzu is said to have created the pearl by carving a small amulet with representations of the “Three Friends” — Confucius, Buddha, and himself.

    “His thought was that it would symbolize peace and unity of all mankind,” he said.

    The pearl was inserted into a clam and transplanted into bigger and bigger clams through generations, Steenrod said. It’s said to have been lost at sea during a shipwreck and rediscovered by a Muslim diver in 1934 off the Philippines. The diver named it the Pearl of Allah, he said, and it now sits in a Denver bank vault.

    But some know it as the Pearl of Lao-tze, which is believed to have come from a giant clam species known as the Tridacna gigas found in the South Pacific Ocean.

    In 1996, Steenrod appraised the pearl at $59.75 million based on its size and history. A lawyer representing Bonicelli’s estate produced records showing that the pearl sold for $200,000 in 1980.

    “This is not a conventional pearl,” Steenrod said. “It’s gigantic compared to any other pearl in the world. And it’s one of a kind.”
    There is no way a gemologist that has any understanding of perliculture could believe what Steenrod claimed as fact. As I said before, it is utter nonsense. The legend has no basis in fact. The appraisal is rubbish and completely contradictory to Steenrod's own testimony. As Steenrod puts it, the pearl is the world's largest natural, cultured, mabe, whole pearl.
    Last edited by Admin; 06-18-2007 at 03:16 PM.

  3. #93
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    No, I didn't mean the thread could be evidentiary, (at least I sincerely hope not!) I meant the AMNH and Mensa articles could be considered evidentiary. Now, please to excuse, I have something to look up
    Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]

  4. #94
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    I think it is also very important to note that the appraisal I just linked in my last post was prepared this year! And prepared once again for Victor Barbish.
    Why is this important? Steenrod's admission that he was not qualified to make the original appraisal, and his assertion that the original sales price was not made available to him which would have had a substantial bearing on the valuation, were both prior to Steenrod's latest, updated appraisal.

    Also, if Barbish does not want to sell and owns 100% of the pearl which is in Colorado, than what does Hoffman have for sale in Beverly Hills?

    www.pearlforpeace.org

    vs

    www.pearlofpeace.com

  5. #95
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Hi Jeremy
    That is the same photograph (of the appraisal) that is on the Wikipedia site. The one on the wiki site is also credited to the pearlforpeace foundation.

    Yeah...

    Who has the pearl? Who has copies?

    I certainly do think the articles are evidence. They are evidence that Wilburn D Cobb is a pretentious braggart and many of his statements can not be substantiated and some are easily proven to be false. So how reliable a witness is he? I think he can be impeached by any logical approach.

    Back then, it was an easy sell to the Natural History staff that "Mohammedans" bowed down to an image of Mohammed. Today, Cobb would be crucified for saying that.

    Also the pearlforpeace folks say W D Cobb was the son of an American civil engineer. That directly contradicts another statement Cobb made to the editors of Natural History that he was Malay and the only European in his lineage was 6 generations back, but that he is the namesake. Natural History may 1940 letter to the Editor.

    Cobb was either the author of both statements or someone else made one or both of them up.
    Last edited by Caitlin; 06-14-2007 at 08:46 PM.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  6. #96
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    The Mensa bulletin article, written in Feb 1967. Definately makes Cobb the source of the Laotse legend part of the pearl's history.

    It could be said that the buyers after Cobb's death, thought the provenance for the Pearl of Allah was good enough; that Cobb was a reliable source.

    It could be said that no one realized a tridacna clam could not grow cultured pearls in the time between 1934,when it was supposedly found and 1939 when it came to New York and the first member of the Lee family appeared to Cobb.

    Culturing loose pearls was itself a brand new art/science and all the possibilities were not yet explored.

    It could be said that Cobb used his story of the appearance of the first Mr Lee to jack up the price of the pearl to $3,500,000.

    I think a case could be made that Cobb thought he could benefit financially by claiming the pearl as not only the biggest in known history, but the oldest- and the most valuable.

    However, it didn't work out completely, because it sold for $200,000. Actually $200,000 is a tremendous price for an ugly convoluted lump of calcium carbonate that is probably no older than the clam it grew in.

    By continuing to plead an unproven claim that the pearl is from 600 BC, ALL the owners risk being exposed as falling for a largely made up con.

    When people fact check the stories up on Barbish's website, I think they will find that Cobb tells a good fish story. In fact, I have written a paper that outlines many more absurdities in the Laotse part of the story, even though, as Jeremy aptly pointly out- the legend can't be correct because there is no such thing as a cultured tridacna pearl.
    Last edited by Caitlin; 06-14-2007 at 08:44 PM.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  7. #97
    Valeria101
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    Man! Congratulations for the patience to read through all that circular reference stuff!


    Do you think posters of that thing might sell too??.... That pearl looks like death (by drowning), so it sort of fits the theme .


    PS. Does anyone happen to know what's the rate of 'nacre' deposition for Tridacna species? The size of that thing seems quite a puzzle in itself
    Last edited by Valeria101; 06-15-2007 at 06:34 AM.

  8. #98
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    I don't think much is known about that. I imagine, since it is warmer waters around the Philippines, non-nacreous substances grow fast, especially in a huge shell.

    I guess it got that lumpy look because giant clams are sessile (attached permanantly) and probably only rock in place a little so the pearl doesn't get much chance to move around.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  9. #99
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    The appraisal still IS on the Website, but the link disappeared shortly after I posted to this thread. You can still see it here, however:
    http://www.pearlforpeace.org/appraisal.tif
    Who knows, that may disappear within the hour as well.
    The appraisal is still up at the wikipedia site.

    If it is removed from there, the claims on the carbon dating would have to be taken down. Even so, it is still the extremely flawed appraisal that bears Sttenrod's name, if not his signature.

    If I were Mr Steenrod, I'd be cleaning up these loose ends toavoid looking any more foolish than he does.

    BTW the GIA has a fantastic xray system for pearls.

    If this pearl wants to gain world class acceptance, it needs to be authenticated by a marine biolgist expert on Tridacnas. In fact, it needs to be reauthenticated by an authority such as RW Miner at the AMNH did in 1939, everytime the chain of evidence is broken.

    If any potential buyer looks the pearl up on the web, this thread will come up very high in the rankings, so I hope any such buyer will pay attention and ask the same questions as we have and also insist on a reauthentication and another carbon dating.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  10. #100
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    I think an update is in order here.

    The unsigned appraisal has been removed from the pearlforpeace Site and replaced with two separate appraisals, one from 1982, and the other from 2007.
    http://www.pearlforpeace.org/appraisal07.jpg
    http://www.pearlforpeace.org/appraisal82_1.jpg
    http://www.pearlforpeace.org/appraisal82_2.jpg

    Now this should be a clincher on the legend. It has always seemed obvious that the entire "carbon dating" fabrication was a hoax. They somehow "carbon dated" the pearl to 600 BC, when Lao Tzu was believed to be alive. If it were indeed carbon dated to this time, it would prove the entire legend is false. The legend states that the pearl was successively reinserted into clams and then was lost in one. If found in 1934, this is when it stopped growing, not 2600 years ago.

    That point aside, I would like to point out a contradiction on the two appraisals. Both appraisals make the claim that the pearl has been carbon dated. But the original appraisal, prepared by a gem lab in San Francisco, states that the pearl was carbon dated to be 600 years old - not from 600 BC. That is a big difference. The only claim found anywhere that the pearl was carbon dated to 600 BC is from Steenrod's new appraisal, and this one is signed.

    So, yes, Steenrod's credibility is shot with me. In my opinion he clearly fabricated the information on that appraisal, certainly at the behest of the owner. The earlier article showed he testified in court that the pearl was successively reinserted into larger clams - it sounds like her perjured himself to me.

    The original 1982 appraisal, the famous one that valued the pearl at $40,000,000, states at the end of the appraisal the following.

    Based on the age and the historical significance of the PEARL OF ALLAH, estimated replacement value, in our opinion, plus any applicable taxes...
    Now this is where it gets good! Clearly there is a contradiction in the carbon dating story. It does not and cannot make sense anyway. The whole carbon dating story is a hoax. But so much of the value placed on the pearl relates back to its historical and religious significance. It is being valued as an artifact, not a pearl! But it can hardly be considered a religious artifact based on its name.

    What this means is that the pearl is not anywhere near as valuable as the owner is claiming. It has never been valued as a pearl. It is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. The last buyer was only willing to pay $200,000...

    Since the carbon dating is a hoax, and both the appraisals are wrong, I wonder how much else is a hoax. I would almost be willing to bet that the story of Bin Laden and the $12 million dollar drug dealer is a complete hoax as well.

  11. #101
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Jeremy
    I thank you for throwing your expert knowledge of pearls and sensible logic to the problems associated with the misnamed pearl of Lao Tzu.

    I would still like to see the actual carbon dating document, because it is NOW known that the surface of the ocean is 400 years old and all carbon dated objects, even ones with known ages, date to at least 400 years ago.

    Nowadays they have tables or something to help them correct for the actual reading.

    My guess is that this pearl would now date to about 100-200 years old and that would be my most generous guess.

    Even if it is actually 600 years old, the most reputable appraisor so far, is not claiming any possible connection to Lao Tzu.

    I think the original estimates by Roy Waldo Miner fit right in that range also.

    I do not understand how the Sparrow appraisal authenticated the artifact/pearl. How did he really know he saw the original? I would think it would have called for a second authentication, if it were going to be appraised.

    More later
    Caitlin

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    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  12. #102
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Since the carbon dating is a hoax, and both the appraisals are wrong, I wonder how much else is a hoax. I would almost be willing to bet that the story of Bin Laden and the $12 million dollar drug dealer is a complete hoax as well.
    In the article I read and mentioned earlier, the party who supposedly worked on the deal distanced himself from any such claim to have anything to do with the Osama Saddam connection to the author. In fact, he denied it. The lawsuit Barbish brought against him and others was thrown out of court according to the local Colorado Springs newspaper.

    I also think the story of the offer from President Marcos is a flim flam as well.


    The truth is that is is an ugly oversized tridacna pearl that appeared in 1939 in NYC and was presented to Roy Waldo Miner, the shellfish expert at the American Museum of natural history. Its only claim to fame is that it can be called the largest pearl in the world because the shellfish experts agreed it was a pearl and not a non-nacreous, calciferous concretion, which it is.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  13. #103
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    Well, it would appear the Pearl of Allah is not the largest clam pearl. Our very own Kari has this and the clam! Check out her website for more pics and dimensions.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Pretty Panda pic by nlerner on her U.S. excursion last year, San Diego Zoo.[/SIZE][/SIZE]

  14. #104
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Here is a link.

    And it is for sale.

    BTW, If the Pearl of Allah was a also a blister pearl, then how did it get moved from tridacna to tridacna?

    BTW If the Pearl of Allah was 2,400 years old, then this one must be also! It is very much of a size with the POA
    Last edited by Caitlin; 06-19-2007 at 04:16 PM.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  15. #105
    Valeria101
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    Yiks!

    ... now that we've seen BIG timers, anyone knows if there is such thing as an attractive Tridacna pearl? Attractive aesthetically, not by lore alone, that is.