Nacre depth requirement scrapped from January

This is extreme removing all the regulations in one go, will be interesting to hear from the Tahitian pearl sellers and farmers.
Interesting. Having Tahitian soufflés would be interesting and I would get my hand on those, but I also foresee a market flooded by thin-nacred Tahitians which will be treated and enhanced as with SSPs.
The article also says that individual and yearly quotas will be put in place (to prevent environmental damage).

Also, that those who wish could still have their pearls certified as to nacre thickness, to receive a certificate of origin (which would give them a commercial advantage.)

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This is horrible news and could fatally wound the Tahitian pearl market if they're not careful.

The only thing this opens the door to is a flood of reject quality Tahitian pearls sold to the public. And ultimately reducing the perceived value/quality of the entire Tahitian pearl industry.

We've already seen some low-rent pearl dealers selling obvious rejects(thin nacre, visible nucleus) Tahitians, which was bad enough. Get ready for a flood of reject Tahitians on Ebay, all labelled AAAA++++

One only has to look at China and freshwater pearl production to know this is a step in the wrong direction. China has been struggling for years to try to an improve the image of the freshwater pearl. Even though we have some incredible FW pearls available, the general public still sees them as not "real pearls", due to the mass of junk pearls flooded to market.

To me it looks like a move made out of desperation.

The ONLY good thing about this is the environmental quotas.

Google translate, a little rough but you get the idea:

PAPEETE, June 2, 2016. pearling professionals have agreed on Thursday, after several months of meetings with the Minister of Pearl farming on the complete overhaul of the pearl industry. Producers will no longer be subject to mandatory certification of their pearls. However, quotas will be implemented. The text must enter into force next January.

After several months of meetings, pearl producers and the Minister of Pearl farming have agreed on a Country Bill which aims to overhaul the sector. Pearl farmers were eager for a refresh of the regulatory framework in order to re-boost their business. The latest figures from the Institute of French Polynesia statistics are not very good. They indicate that in April, exports of raw pearls fell sharply (65% in value).

Producers are satisfied out Thursday that their meeting was to finalize the text. The spirit of the Country of the bill provides for returning control to producers while the administration will be more discreet. Thus, the beads will not be subject to quality controls after being classified. Fini also rejects that were destroyed by Marine and Mineral Resources Branch (DRMM) in the presence of pearl farmers. "We want to sell more beads," says Baldassari Aline Bernard, president of the Professional Union of pearl producers. " Before, there were stringent controls on the layer of the pearl and visually, that were really disadvantageous for producers and traders (...) It was becoming unbearable this classification which dated from 2005, which was completely obsolete.

All producers do not agree to this change, but the majority yes. " Teva Rohfritsch, Minister of pearl farming, explains that the goal is put the producer at the heart of the pearl industry. " The spirit of the text, it is the responsibility of industry players with a repositioning of the role of administration and one that is dedicated to professionals." "Now pearl farmers can market according to their choices and their market strategies," explained he. " Countries do not all have the same approach to the product pearl. Producers will define the marketing criteria." However if the control beads no longer be compulsory, pearl farmers will still be able to use it if they wish to use this argument as a commercial asset. "It still leaves the possibility of certifying the thickness of the free pearly layer with the marine resources Management", describes Teva Rohfritsch. " Those who want to have in marketing asset will have a certificate of the country. For the others, we will go to the appellation of origin, but this is the market to determine a price."

QUOTAS The other change important is the introduction of quotas. Management committees will be installed in each island. The Mayor and the Minister of Pearl farming will be full members. They will sit alongside the pearl farmers. The establishment of quotas is expected to finally be able to quantify the production of pearls, which today is a great unknown. The quota will be based on several criteria, one of which concern the environment. "We will determine a maximum load lagoon " , says Minister of Pearl farming. " This will change depending on the types of lagoon. We want to avoid the disaster of Takaraoa that the lagoon has been overexploited. " to ensure that the quotas are respected, the producer will take his harvest the service of pearl farming. the text must now be finalized before being submitted to the Cabinet. He will then pass the CESC and the Assembly of French Polynesia. The text is intended to be applied on 1 January.
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This is disappointing.

I hope the vendors here will still choose to source certified/x-rayed pearls. I'd be willing to pay a premium for quality!

ETA - I remember a post from Josh a while back talking about how he once had a large, perfect pearl with great colour, but it was rejected due to just falling short of the nacre requirements and how sad it was to see it ground up. I'd be happy for more of these pearls to get through (as long as the nacre isn't too thin!)
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X-ray and certify isn't working for the pearl farmers (sales are tanking) so at least they are trying something different rather than sticking their heads into the sand and hoping it will all get better on its own.
I've only once actually received a certificate for pearls and that was from Josh years ago. Since then I've sold thousands with no certificate in my hand. You buy wholesale and the lot will be all mixed up from several sources - who is to say which pearl has which certificate. Or select a single one - does the wholesaler photocopy the certificate for a single farm lot - if he indeed has one.. So x-ray and certify was great in theory but in was great in theory.
Expect the market to be a bit like whisky. There is the blended stuff which competes on price to be cheapest and then there are the single malts which go on quality and rarity.
They are probably looking also at the Akoya market. You can have rubbish Akoya, even unto blinking, or you can have amazingly amazing pearls which require sunglasses they are so shiny. And you can also get a certificate for your high quality pearls. Or not.
And of course there is no way to tell, even if you have a certificate, that it actually applies to that pearl.
This is good for the future of the industry. At least they are doing something to keep going. I met with a huge south sea firm in HK in march and the pearls they had were very nice, round of course and they had lots in the 10-12 white pairs range. They told me they had fabulous lustre and were $150 a pair or some such. As it happened I had just been to one of my wholesalers (this was a sale in a hotel suite) and had some 10 and 12mm white bead nucleated freshwaters. Whipped them out and they were aghast at the quality, after lengthy sneering at the whole concept of freshwater pearls. The freshwaters outshone their pearls and were $50 a pair. (prices not exact as going from memory). I asked them why would any customer of mine go for a pair of studs made from their pearls when they could pay a third....I agree some connoisseurs might and will but the average customer...nope
Chinese freshwaters are getting very close to a really good imitation of white south sea with that elusive satin lustre and also to gold. Golds are good when you look at one or two on their own but they have an ear-wax brown look en masse still (like the dyed SS themselves). I've seen lots of smaller dyed fresh which look close to peacock tahitian but no real attempts to make them imitate tahitian strands so far.
The whole pearl thing is in flux
I suppose if they simply could not survive the way they were going previously, the changes make sense. After all, absolute nacre thickness rules do not apply to the exportation of other kinds of pearls we buy, so why should they to Tahitians?
It's not about certificates at all....

The issue is, that up until now they had set a standard of quality for their product. Anything that did not meet that criteria was destroyed(or in some cases smuggled out of country). By controlling the quality, they control the branding of Tahitian pearls. This is a key reason why Black Tahitian pearls have been cemented as a luxury product -- until now.

Also keep in mind that the majority of a harvest could be rejects. With the regulations removed, that's a MASSIVE amount of junk Tahitian pearls hitting the market. More junk than high quality. If I'm feeling optimistic I'll say that most of the junk will go to mainland China, where quality isn't the number one concern. But I'm not feeling that optimistic about this decision.

You can make the argument that there's a market for low quality and a market for high quality and that's true. But very few brands(I'm considering the Tahitian pearl as it's own "brand" here) have been successful marketing top end luxury goods AND low end junk. For a brand your lowest quality/highest volume product is what you'll be associated with.

I get it, farmers want money for their wasted pearls and are having a tough go of it- but flooding the market with junk isn't the answer. It seems like a knee-jerk reaction.

I don't know... I can't see how this will benefit the Tahitian pearl industry. But I guess time will tell.
This has been an interesting conversation, but since I don't know much about cultured pearls I'm not going to comment on that.

I am happy to hear about the environmental quotas being set and I very much like that they are going to set quotas based on a lagoon by lagoon capacity basis. I do think that capacity for harvest is important but more so is capacity to support oyster population levels. The language of the text read as vague on that point to me.
Keeping the rule might make more sense if all types of pearls had the same system. But only tahitians do. So it could be argued that they are simply re-joining the mainstream..
Just recently rewatching Jeremy's video about Tahitian pearls, and seeing the numbers of rejects, I don't know if pearl farmers will need to produce any more pearls if all their pearls make it out of the country. I do think this move could hurt the pearl farmers even more because the market is going to be flooded with a lot more Tahitian pearls, and it is basically up to the buyer to hope for the best when purchasing because we don't have access to xray machines to see the thickness of the nacre. Pearls that were once rejected due to a bald spot but otherwise beautiful can be used for pendants or pieces that cover up the spot. I know this is commonly done with other pearls but with Tahitians, I always felt I had some security that my pearls were of quality.

IMHO, most people looking for Tahitians think they are black, when they are some of the prettiest colors in the world. I have seen some Chinese fakes mimicking the pretty colors, but they aren't perfect enough to fool most people who know pearls well. I've also seen a lot of really poor quality Tahitians which are finding a way to make it out of the country, so perhaps this is just one way to halt the black market sales and get more revenue for their government by taxing every pearl, whether it is of quality or not. I think educating the public on the true beauties of these pearls is the way to get more sales.

When does this take effect?
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It makes no sense to destroy an otherwise perfect .99 pearl, especially when other Pacific Islands have no such restrictions.

Certified thickness is a value added feature for those who desire it, irrespective of origin.

Moving forward, it's wise to be wary of cheaper Tahitians, but I'd think most will be terrific as ever.