Tom Stern's natural pearls

office

office

This is our office, half a world from here. Some days we study pearls for hours, and long into the night. The woman is from Time Magazine, in traditional garb.
 

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Tom: Great reports, sounds like a wild time in the Sultanate this summer.

Additional scene-setting can be found in Edwin Streeter's Pearls and the Pearling Life. There, it is clear that Louis Kornitzer had a swashbuckling predecessor in T.H. Haynes. Now we have Datu Tom (Doc).

Taking advantage to plug Yolanda's new book, when will we be seeing this?
 
Tom: Great reports, sounds like a wild time in the Sultanate this summer.

Additional scene-setting can be found in Edwin Streeter's Pearls and the Pearling Life. There, it is clear that Louis Kornitzer had a swashbuckling predecessor in T.H. Haynes. Now we have Datu Tom (Doc).

Taking advantage to plug Yolanda's new book, when will we be seeing this?

Sex and the Wild Pearl by Yolanda Ortega Stern, a.k.a. Dayang Dayang Tasmira Mandi Kiram, will be available on Amazon.com, Borders.com, etc. in about 3-6 weeks. I will post a notice once Amazon is ready. Thanks for remembering. Datu Doc
 
Coral smuggling and conservation

Coral smuggling and conservation

Personal communications with renowned divers and malacologists operating in the Philippines recently touched on these issues. Extract:

The Philippines are saturated by NGO people coming with dramatic stories on protection of animals: NONE OF THE MARINE MOLLUSKS is endangered in the Philippines, we even do not KNOW half of them.

I'm quite sick of scientists that know close to nothing and coming from the west here declaring that the Philippines are POLLUTED !!! There is not even one hundred km polluted out of 36000 km of coast. I wonder which country can tell that in the west.

I'm now busy lobbying already for weeks because of a few poachers of corals: they want to prohibit ALL sealife. Corals "grow" by 460 containers A DAY in the Philippines, but because of all the NGOs they want to punish all science.

Thanks to ecologists, we will NEVER KNOW 70% of the land fauna already. They now start with the marine things of which we know only 50%.
On-the-ground counterpoint to the onslaught of doomsday pronouncements from the global warming and environmental sectors?valid as those may be.
 
Fishermen accusing scientists of knowing "close to nothing", while admitting they themselves don't know the half it shouldn't be self-regulated. Also , by their own admission, a minority of offenders exist. One or two percent of the user group can do significant damage, especially where explosives, poisons and reefs are concerned.

There is a big difference between environmental activism and science. Throw in commercial interest and you'll always have a dog-eat-dog industry.
 
Shell-takers

Shell-takers

Personal communications with renowned divers and malacologists operating in the Philippines recently touched on these issues. Extract:


On-the-ground counterpoint to the onslaught of doomsday pronouncements from the global warming and environmental sectors?valid as those may be.

All, One of the most egregious violaters of existing laws is a group of divers and malacologists based outside the country who come to South China Sea, pose as scientists, and sell their take of rare shells through a mechanism that disguises the origins of the shells. We are on to them, the Philippine Navy is on to them, and they will be stopped in our area. We will not tolerate these violations and I am telling you to stop and move on to another nation. If one of you poachers is reading, respect this. Tom
 
I am obligated to declare that my quote above is not from a South Chinese Sea imposter, rather an internationally renowned and respected conchologist and author. That is not to excuse what is likely a rather a self-interested perspective, of which humans tend to be guilty from time to time.
 
All,

According to those remote publishing powers, Yolanda's book Sex and the Wild Pearl will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. online in about 10 days.

Tom
 
DrTKStern
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Natural Pearl Connoisseur
Senior Guide Member
Join Date:Oct 2007
Location:San Francisco, California
Posts:355 Life span of Giant Clams
Originally Posted by Bodecia
Hi all,

Hoping some one can direct me to articles or sites or actually know the various life spans of the different pearl producing mollusks.

I would also like access to the knowledge of how long these mollusks keep growing and generally as much knowledge I can find out.

Have been browsing the pearl-guide forum old threads and each thread has been so very interesting and then I find I am surfing from one thread to another in search of information the first one or second etc has brought to my attention and displayed to me my extreme ignorance.

Would appreciate any help. From others as myself and from the experts

Thanks All,

Dawn - Bodecia
eBay Seller ID dawncee333 - natural pearl collector and all round pearl lover.
Dawn,

I have been told that Giant Clams, which make Tridacna pearls, can live 200-300+ years; and that Pinctada maxima, which produce beautiful nacreous pearls, live up to 20 years. So I assume similar spans would apply to P. radiata, Pteria sterna, etc. Nautilus live a bit longer, and I recall reading they do not become sexually mature until around 20 years.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
Originally Posted by CortezPearls
This information about the life-span of a given species comes basically from 2 sources: real-life information and growth-curves. When you use both sources you get more accurate information.

In the case of the "Rainbow Lipped Oyster" (Pteria sterna) we know that it can live to be 6-7 years old based on the basis of both types of information. My Master's thesis was about the growth of Pinctada mazatlanica & Pteria sterna and instead of the "skimpy" assumptions using a 2 month growth curve...well my growth curve followed the oyster's development for 4 full years and then we continued with these oysters until their demise.

In our case: we are pretty sure about their life-span.



Thanks. Very interesting. Reminded by this link and your expertise, I want to return to the question of P. sterna and P.penguin. First, is it true that with long wave light, Pteria sterna and P. penguin can be differentiated? Is it also true that P.sterna is not believed to be native to the Western Pacific? If I'm wrong on one or both counts, there really is no issue.

I ask because we now have about 10-15 natural saltwater P.sterna pearls with GIA cert that came from the Celebes Sea. We also have several classed as P. penguin, so I assume GIA is using some kind of test to separate the two.

Do you think Pteria sterna came to the Sulu and Celebes seas on the keels of Manila Galleons that crossed for 250 years? One known example of transplantationof oyster types took place when the Suez Canal opened and Red Sea oysters made it into the Eastern Mediterranean.

Many thanks,
Tom
 
First, is it true that with long wave light, Pteria sterna and P. penguin can be differentiated? Is it also true that P.sterna is not believed to be native to the Western Pacific? If I'm wrong on one or both counts, there really is no issue.

I ask because we now have about 10-15 natural saltwater P.sterna pearls with GIA cert that came from the Celebes Sea. We also have several classed as P. penguin, so I assume GIA is using some kind of test to separate the two.

Do you think Pteria sterna came to the Sulu and Celebes seas on the keels of Manila Galleons that crossed for 250 years? One known example of transplantationof oyster types took place when the Suez Canal opened and Red Sea oysters made it into the Eastern Mediterranean.

Many thanks,
Tom

Hi Tom,

This might come as a SHOCK to some, but we are pretty sure our Pteria oyster has "been around" the area: we have fossils of these animals dated some 140 million years ago. So, they are Native to our waters...no doubt there.

Now, the second question is really about the pearls you Know are from the Celebes...yet the GIA certificate comes out as Sea of Cortez...

And the answer is.... DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!! ....and before I write anything else let me just state it CLEARLY: You heard about it First here at the PEARL-GUIDE.COM !!! ...drum roll continues...

Cymbal Clash!!! Both species belong to the same GENUS and share the same basic proteins (porphyrins) so....in essence all oysters from Genus Pteria SHOULD BE ABLE TO GLOW PINK-RED UNDER LONG-WAVE UV.

I know this to be true for at least 3 species (have no access to other species): P.penguin, P.colymbus & P.sterna.

I have analyzed the shells of these 3 species and all of them can display the Pink-Red fluorescence, due of course to the presence of these proteins. But, under certain conditions the oysters of genus Pteria will not glow pink-red, due to low concentrations of protein. So, our light-colored pearls (the ones we call "Yoris") do not glow pink but just display the usual blue fluorescence.

In a similar scenario...some P.penguin pearls (the most colorful) SHOULD BE ABLE to glow Pink!!!

And now... before I am told I'm a criminal of sorts because we state (the company) that our pearls are the only ones that glow pink-red...we are referring to CULTURED PEARLS and we are still the only producers of Pteria cultured pearls.

Ok...I've said...feel better now with the "secret" out. You owe me Tom ;) (just kidding!).

Feel in a very good mood today...maybe because I'll see my friends at the Ruckus!!!
 
Both species belong to the same GENUS and share the same basic proteins (porphyrins) so....in essence all oysters from Genus Pteria SHOULD BE ABLE TO GLOW PINK-RED UNDER LONG-WAVE UV.

I know this to be true for at least 3 species (have no access to other species): P.penguin, P.colymbus & P.sterna.

I have analyzed the shells of these 3 species and all of them can display the Pink-Red fluorescence, due of course to the presence of these proteins.
So the question that remains is by which method GIA species-certified the Pteria-genus pearls from the Celebes Sea.
 
Well Steve, somebody is messing up! If it is a natural pearl you have to inspect other features such as the pearl's unique spirals...the source shell should be invaluable...if those pearls are from the Celebes they are not P.sterna.

If you have a bead-nucleated pearl that glows pink...it is from Pteria sterna and comes from my farm. You've got a natural...it glows pink... Pteria of course!!! But in order to pinpoint the exact locality or species...you need more research, more information, more things to compare.

Unfortunately we have never had the resources to conduct more research...all our research usually costs a couple of cups of organic-grown coffee...but it works!!!
 
Little pearls of Alamid coffee

Little pearls of Alamid coffee

Well Steve, somebody is messing up! If it is a natural pearl you have to inspect other features such as the pearl's unique spirals...the source shell should be invaluable...if those pearls are from the Celebes they are not P.sterna.

If you have a bead-nucleated pearl that glows pink...it is from Pteria sterna and comes from my farm. You've got a natural...it glows pink... Pteria of course!!! But in order to pinpoint the exact locality or species...you need more research, more information, more things to compare.

Unfortunately we have never had the resources to conduct more research...all our research usually costs a couple of cups of organic-grown coffee...but it works!!!

All,

Because somewhere we read that P.sterna glows red while others do not, I'm looking for that reference. Actually, I'm asking my son to track it down. If anyone has any scientific references on this question, please post.

CortezPearls mentions organic coffee...did you know that the most expensive coffee on earth, Very organic, comes from Sulu and other islands with similar latitudes? Yup, it is known as "Alamid" coffee, which sells for $50 a pot in Japan, but only $35 in Australia.

Civet cats, which remind me of weasels, thrive by climbing through wild (or plantation) coffee bushes to dine on only the ripest coffee berries. The mouth to anus transit time is very brief, so soon after eating, the civet cat defecates a little mound of coffee beans that have been very slightly digested...a bit like some 10mm pearls in mud. Our workers scavenge for the little piles of dung, wash them in the river, and begin the beans on the road to your cup. AFTER a good roasting, of course. Truly, there is no coffee as smoothly mellow as alamid. I can get it for you if you like. Probably around $30 for 4 or 5 ounces of beans, plus S&H, which I mention not as a business proposition but just as a gastronomical adventure. At our house, during coffee after formal dinners, I regale guests with this whole story and watch their faces.

Thanks,

Tom
 
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I posted on Facebook some videos taken during our recent expedition. A diver once told me that all sea snakes come from the krait family, as deadly as cobras. Anyone know that to be wrong? I'd feel a lot more comfortable when one of these serpents swims right up to my goggles and stares into my eyes, if they are not poisonous.
 
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