Hi everyone, I'm finally back!

I saw so much jewelry in Dubai it makes my head spin! I must have visited over 150 different places! Now, pearls:

1. Dubai is the place to find some massive pearls. It was not unusual to find 15mm to 21mm pearl necklaces. I tried them on and it's like I'm Wilma Flinstone, they are really heavy. The south sea pearls were really nice, especially from Paspaley and Mikimoto. I tried on a 17mm south sea pearl ring from Mikimoto ($40,000) but was not, believe it or not, really impressed. I prefer a nicer, smaller more exotic pearl. The salesperson at Mikimoto, ahem, stressed that they are the only ones with the AAA pearls (in their opinion no one else does) (I know, thems fightin' words). Their pearl education seems to be minimal and are only told what they should know. Not many customers are buying their pearls (according to a reliable source that I cannot name).

2. Paspaley pearls were also 15mm + and really nice, with much prettier designs than Mikimoto. They had some interesting soft triangular pearl shapes that I have never seen before. They were made into pendants (with cuffs) and went with a set of earrings. It was amazing how they matched. It makes me wonder if they were nucleated that way, because they matched too perfectly.

3. I saw some amazing jewelry, a 52 carat skating rink diamond ring (emerald or step cut). Lots of the big 3, emeralds, sapphires and rubies. Once you've seen the jewelry in Dubai, you are really spoiled for anything else.

Overall, I saw from the very poor pearl strands to the extremely large. Interestingly, I didn't see one pearl that I liked, i.e. interesting colour. The tahitians were all pretty predictable, nothing really to write home about. South Seas were either yellow or white/silver.

Some of the stores selling pearls had them in closed cabinets with hot lighting and when I held the pearls they were really hot (don't worry, I gave them a piece of my mind!) Paspaley, on the other hand, train in Australia and learn how to showcase their pearls. I was quite impressed with that.

So...since I wasn't able to find me a nice pearl I went for the next best thing - tanzanite!

If I remember anything else (brain fog from jet lag) I will write more. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.

Cheers!
Debra