Fred Ward pearl article on PBS Nova page from 20 years ago—he got a lot right


Well-known member
Aug 11, 2019
I think. But I am no expert. I’d love to know what some of you who ARE experts think about what he got right and if he got anything not quite right.

Here is the article:

This statement interests me greatly. He didn’t follow up on it in the body of the article. I already loved my freshies but now I’m looking at them with some awe, haha! Would love your comments/input if you are interested and have time! Wishing all of you a safe day and week—

I loved Ward's articles and his small book "The Pearl". It was one of my 1st pearl book purchases back in the early 1990's so I am very fond of it...that is where I learned of the "American Pearl Co", loved his was an eye-opener for me.
I believe he got it right, but he never envisioned how much greater and larger the Chinese pearl industry would become nor how resilient the Marine pearl industry would become too: for all accounts, the saltwater pearl industry should have been slaughtered by freshwaters, yet it has not happened and now I am sure it will not happen (unless an environmental cataclysm occurs).
The 1990's were an amazing time of expansion for the pearl industry, then the 2000s came with more...another decade and we got even more.
That old adage that is attributed to the Chinese (but some say it is actually an Englishman's saying) "May you Live in Interesting Times" is totally true. We are living very interesting times!
I think that many 100% nacre freshwater pearls are probably better than a majority of the natural pearls from previous centuries (pre-culturing). I think that royals and the extremely rich got the best of the best, and the average person who could afford natural pearls got pretty small, very baroque, unmatched pearls. In comparison, the today's very affordable freshwaters rival and exceed in quality a lot of natural pearls.
I totally agree with you BWeaves. We do live in the most "perlicious" moment of History. We never had so many pearl variations available for us and at such great prices.
We are blessed :)