Tag Archives: Sarah Cannizzaro

7th Annual Pearl Ruckus Report

Yes! I can hardly believe it has been 7 incredible years of Pearl Ruckuses, and each year they get better and better. But, what is a “Pearl Ruckus”??? Basically put it is a special gathering of friends, pearl collectors, pearl buyers & resellers, designers and pearl farmers…but in the end it is really a gathering of pearl lovers in a fantastic Mansion-like setting.

Pearl Mansion

You may remember some of my previous Pearl Ruckus series of blog entries before, but in case you haven’t I do have to emphasize that this very special gathering is the result of the work done at the Pearl-Guide.com website, basically the World’s Largest Pearl Information Source, and this site is a labor of love of many people that LOVE pearls, including: Jeremy and Hisano Shepherd of PearlParadise.com fame, Caitlin Williams (Caitlin) and Blaire Beavers (GemGeek) (as the site’s admins) and of Newberry, Pattye, Mikkey and many more brave pearlers that share and spread the Pearly Gospel Winking smile

So, here are my 3 HIGHLIGHTS for this Year’s Ruckus and #1 is actually very, very easy:

#1. Little h Video

Jeremy and the team at PearlParadise.com created a short video of Hisano sharing her inspiration and design process for her little h, Pearl Geode and Finestrino collections. It is a delightful video and the jewelry pieces are some of my favorites!

#2. Kojima Pearl’s Amazing Cortez Mabe Pearl Necklace

Stunning. I obviously prefer my pearls above all others (but if you follow this blog you know I am also a fan of Kamoka and Kasumigaura pearls)…last year we came up with a pair of beautiful Mabe Pearl necklaces set in Sterling Silver that were all the rage (one of them is owned by U.S. Senator Gabrielle Giffords) but this year I did not have anything similar to offer…but what a pleasant surprise when Sarah and Mounir came up with this AMAZING Cortez mabe pearl necklace…simply stunning!


Sarah and Mounir have become an amazing designing team…just ready to rock the pearl world! For more information you can head to Kojima Pearl’s website.

#3. The Pearl People

The Pearl Ruckus is ultimately about PEARLS…but without PEOPLE to admire, love and wear pearls we have nothing! So in the end it is all about People that Love Pearls.

And at the Mansion we spend almost an entire weekend immersed in pearls, pearl jewelry, incredible food, music and making friends. If you ever feel like you could become a “Pearl Ruckrusader” (just made up this word) please join us at the Pearl-Guide.com forum and start meeting the people! Maybe next year you can join us too! Open-mouthed smile


And besides the friends, the talks, the music and the food –and everything surrounded by pearls of course- there were many other interesting things including the “Pearl Talks”:

Josh y CelesteJosh Humbert of Kamoka Pearls gave us a great slideshow presentation. Josh is not only an extraordinaire pearl farmer but also a most accomplished NatGeo photographer. Wish I could share the photos here…but they are his to share so if you want to see some of his work just contact him via Tweeter at @KamokaJosh.

Here we have Josh and his life-mate Celeste Brash. Good friends of mine.

BlaireBlaire Beavers gave a great talk and walk through memory lane…first by reminding all how the name for this event was coined…yes, my good friend Michael Rivers came up with this inventive name and it sure has stuck. All 6 previous events were considered…so many years, so many great moments! We had to laugh and smile at the photos of the pearl tiara wearing comrades and the retelling of the “Purloined Pearls” story, or draw our breath inwards at the wholesome beauty of many beautiful pearl necklaces and jewelry pieces.

SelfieDouglas McLaurin (that’s me!) also gave a short talk on Cortez Pearls…this year I tried a less serious approach and resorted to much more humor than before. I don’t know if the audience agreed with me but I hope they had as much fun listening to my “La Peregrina” pearl section as much as  I had making it.

I also took a bit of time to talk about this year’s Cortez Pearl Harvest: it was not as good as last year’s (every year results in a different harvest due to environmental conditions, as you would also expect for wine, cheeses, grains, etc.) but it was a very good one nonetheless. We harvested almost 4 kilos of Cortez Pearls (roughly 4,000 pearls) in sizes between 8 and 13 mm, the average size for this year being 9 mm. The pearls were also rounder than any other previous harvest and very lustrous, with a better “skin” (less flaws and imperfections) but the colors –for my personal taste- were less intense.

Cosecha 2015

If I had a way to describe the overall look of this year’s harvest it would be: Silvery Gray with Blue Overtones. There were –of course- the traditional stunners…but I missed finding Red and Blue pearls, there were more coppery-golden ones this year too.

Jewelry Highlights

Oh yes! My good friends had Pearl Jewelry on everyday and would change their jewelry based on clothing, mood or even environmental conditions Smile Such a fun crowd to be with. Here are some of the highlights:

A very beautiful Cortez Mabe Pearl pendant in Gold with Rubies (owner: Rhonda).

Cortez Mabe Pendant Rhonda

Another beautiful & stylish piece in gold with Cortez Cultured pearl and many Cortez Keshi pearls, designed by Sarah & Mounir at Kojima Pearl. (Owner: Catherine).

Keshi Cortez Sarah Design

Another favorite of mine are Hisano’s amazing Geode Pearl jewelry…just stunning, and the colors are just to vibrant!

Pearl Geodes 2

And there are many, many more stunning pieces but I just did not have the time nor adequate light to shoot all those pics I should have had!  But I will close up this entry with just one more photo and description…

My friend Sheri Jurnecka has come up with a dazzling array of uniquely shaped squiggly octo-jewerly designs and she has used all types of pearls on them: blacks, golden, freshwater and Cortez Pearls of course. Hope you enjoy this beautiful cephalopod family photo!

Pearl Ruckus 2015 (115)

Until next time…Cheers!!!

The 2015 Tucson Gem Show part 2 – Final comments

Amazing. We are are almost about to start with the month of May and I am about to write about things that happened way back in February. Goes to show how tight a schedule I have.

But here I am again sharing my thought and comments, hoping some of these things will be of help and interest to you all. So, let me know start with the JEWELRY, a most pleasant subject.

This year we were pleasantly surprised by our many talented friends. Kathe of TriGem Designs, Alejandra of Alejandra and Sarah of Kojima Pearl have been busy producing some of the most beautiful Cortez Pearl jewelry designs we have been able to see these last years. Gold, silver, gemstones and Cortez Pearls are all combined to produce wearable beauty to please the beautiful women that grace our fair Earth. Let me show you some of the beautiful pieces we saw in Tucson this 2015 and some that even made it all the way to our Cortez Pearl Jewelry store in Guaymas (and that you may also see in our eStore).

Kathe Mai of  TriGem Designs

Kathe’s jewelry designs may be easily explained with just one word: Timeless. These are classic pieces that could have been worn 100 years ago, but also worn today and will be worn 100 years from now. Simply put: these are jewelry designs that will not suffer from the ravages of “fashion statements”. You may agree or disagree with me…but I believe you will agree these are beautiful pieces, and all of their accompanying stones are Fair Trade Gems as usual.

Another great thing about her jewelry is that it feels equally at home being worn with a fancy night dress or with just normal day wear such as jeans. My personal favorites are the 14K Rosé Gold with Cortez Mabe and Nyala Rubi piece and the 18K Yellow gold Cortez Mabe piece that has little moveable gold waves…reminds me of a jellyfish.


This year Kathe came out with more Cortez Mabe Pearl jewelry designs and she is also busy preparing a new line of jewelry for this year…a special line that we will not disclose until it is ready. Expect something special later this year!


Alejandra Solomone of Alejandra Jewels

Alejandra has a hectic and contrasting life: she moves and feels equally at home in the great city of New York and her mother’s ranch in the Sierra Madre in Mexico. Quite a contrast! She is both a sophisticate cosmopolitan woman and a horse mounted Amazon and her jewelry also defies our imagination with its colorful designs.

This year she incorporated even more colors in her new designs –all of them available at our eStore and here in Guaymas- with the help of beautiful Mexican Fire Opals, Granates, Sapphires and Diamonds. This year she worked wonders on our Cortez Pearls, Mabe and Keshi.


Yesterday we were preparing our first ever TV commercial (to air on State television here in Sonora and in TV Azteca Arizona) and Rocío chose a pair of beautiful earrings by Alejandra for this special occasion. I believe you can agree they look stunning.


Sarah Cannizaro of Kojima Pearl Co

Our dear friend Sarah is increasing her Cortez Pearl inventories and she has been coming up with many special requests by pearl connoisseurs…her recent designs also incorporate the inspiration of her husband Mounir. You can see his vision on the pair of Mabe Pearl earrings, a great contrast with the violet stones and the Cortez mabe pearls.

I expect to see many more great designs from Sarah and Mounir in the years to come. You can find more of Sarah and Mounir’s jewelry at the Kojima website…and they also carry a great selection of Kamoka Pearls -from our friends Josh and Celeste- and have exclusive Kasumiga pearls as well, so you can’t really go wrong with Kojima if you intend to find that “special pearl” that we all are looking for.


And that is that in the case of Cortez Pearl Jewelry at this year’s edition of the Tucson Gem Show. For now I will shift gears into two very different subjects: Great Food & Great friends and Mexican Fire Opals.


Mexican Fire Opals by Opalos & Artesanias Mexicanas

I love pearls above all gemstones. In a close second place I have Opals, followed by Emeralds and Amber. I am not that fond of the shiny, glittering stones…but Fire Opals are special to me, they can also have such varied looks! I mean: some can look glacial white, others are a flaming orange, then bright Yellows and even a soft soapy pink! You would think you are talking about different stones but no, these are the Opals of Mexico and our friend Luciano Tamayo and his family are the owners of the best mine in Jalisco. They have taken the art of Opal processing to a new level and offer them in very conceivable shape, size and colors…from minimalistic rough-cut opals to perfect cut opals and everything in between like the baroque shaped opals that Alejandra used in her Cortez Keshi and Opal earrings.


Our friend Luciano and his family are always ready to take care of your special Opal needs at the Tucson Gem Show (same tent as we are, the GJX just across from the Tucson Convention Center) and you can contact them via e-mail too.


Great Dinners with Great Friends

I believe the Pearl Industry is special and different from all others. Over the years you end up making great friends, all sharing this common passion for pearls and jewelry. This year we had our nights filled with laughs, merry drinks and great food…but it is the friends we join the ones that actually make it a special moment. Thank you all for your friendship, for being gracious hosts and for sharing your love and knowledge of pearls (and Spirits!) with us.


And with these last words I bid you all a Great Spring!

The Tucson Gem Show 2014–Part 1

We are already in the month of May and this event took place in the month of February in the city of Tucson, Arizona. I have previously commented on our annual pilgrimage to this gigantic showcase & sales event, and every year you can find some new & different items: what’s new in the world of gems and jewelry? how about fossils and meteorites? Well, this year it was no exception and I take this opportunity to talk about some new people I met and their unique products.

Pearls, pearls…and more pearls?

In the subject of pearls we had several new revelations at the Tucson Gem Show. We had a chance to see and touch several new varieties of natural pearls from Mexican waters -thanks to our friend Edgar- including some very unusual pearls specimens from a species of snail (Pleuroploca gigantea); one of these pearls is what I would call as “Full Blooded Mexican” all the way to the name that Edgar christened it with:  “The Habanero Pepper Pearl”.

I had never seen something quite like this before. I do have to agree with our local vernacular poet Bruno Pablos: “the longer you live, the more things you will see”. This snail species is common on the Atlantic coast -from Florida in United States to Yucatan, Mexico- and is known as the “Florida Horse conch”. Their most striking features are an orange-red coloration and the unique pattern on their surface.

We got to see other pearls from this very same snail species, and they can be considered as “more beautiful” (this “Habanero Pearl” really has a huge size and unique appearance) due to their more appealing shape. This is yet another Pearl that adorns the beautiful coasts of Mexico.

Sea of Cortez pearls

Returning now to my pearls, we had opportunity to see some of the work of our friend Sarah Canizzaro of “Kojima Pearls” fame. She used our beautiful Cortez Pearls to produce with a beautiful Pearl Necklace accented with different gems. Each year we are fortunate to see and enjoy the new creations of many talented designers, but I really enjoy Sarah’s designs and discussing pearls with this internationally acclaimed Pearl-Fanatic. Kudos Sarah!

As a summary of this year’s gem show, I can state that it was a good year for our pearl sales: our traditional clients continue acquiring pearls for their jewelry unless there is a dramatic disaster – such as the Tsunami in Japan- which collapsed this important market for us for a couple of years. The Pearls that we had on display and for sale this year were of a slightly smaller size than other years, but the colors and luster were really exceptional.

In addition to the usual sales activities, we had the opportunity of sharing the “salt and bread” with some of the most important actors in the world of pearls, among them we have Jeremy Shepherd -the new “King of Pearls”-  (who we see together with Enrique Arizmendi, General Director of Perlas del Mar de Cortez), owner of Pearl-Paradise.com, fellow pearl-farmer Jacques Christophe Branellec (who appears with Sarah Canizzaro in the photo) and Managing Director of “Jewelmer” and our dear friend & gemologist Elisabeth Strack (author of the best-selling book “Perlen”) and who -by the way- just gave a very interesting presentation entitled “the first decade of the 21st century: is the pearl market changing?”. Several other good old friends were present at the dinner such as intrepid pearl-reporter Blair Beavers, Natural Pearl Mogul Jeremy Norris, and of course our gracious host Hisano Shepherd (another talented jewelry designer, also known as “Mrs. Pearl-Paradise”)… I have always has identified Jeremy and Hisano as some of the finest people I have ever met (and I guess I have been lucky to meet do many!) and the best hosts ever. I really thank them for inviting us to their annual Tucson Show dinner of Tucson and the famous “Pearl Ruckus” event. As alway, it is a pleasure to feast & dine with you all!

“Goodnes Gracious Great Balls of Fire” and the “Diamond Pearls”

Sorry, I could not avoid the pun when talking about these “Fireball Pearls”, but in a musical way. Some couple of years ago, these pearls of great size made their appearance at the Tucson Gem Show: they are being grown in freshwater mussels in China and were baptized as “Ikecho” or “Fireballs” (due to their likeness to a comet or fire-ball); this year the available amounts of these pearls caused a significant fall in their price. I am impressed when I see these huge pearls (sizes between 18 and 26 mm in diameter) with such a ridiculous price of $10-50 USD per pearl; clearly it comes to mind that the value of a pearl depends on its beauty (and these particular pearls I saw in Tucson I can say that they are not truly attractive, but you are free to disgress), its rarity (and it seems they are producing tons of these pearls) and quality (in the ones I inspected the quality was medium to low)… and so, if the price tells us something about these pearls I will just leave it to you it to your imagination.

A new Pearl that caught my attention is one that they called “Diamond Pearl”, this Pearl seems to be a variation of the “Ikecho” and I conjecture that the farmers introduced a faceted mother-of-pearl bead into the pearl sac of the mussel to bring you this unusual shape. How much is such a huge Pearl Necklace worth? Bleieve it or not, but it is hardly worth $200 USD, which to me is a clear reflection of what the people who are introducing this product to the market think about it: these are “costume jewelry” quality, never thought of as having GEM quality.

Well, at the moment I think have reached the end of this installment, but I will soon continue since I want to talk about mysterious “Cotton pearls”, a variety that is freshly “harvested” in Japan, and I also want to talk about a Canadian product that already has some time available in the market, but that few people know about and is “related” to pearls.

Thank you for your attention, I hope your valuable comments and I hope to see you soon.

Pearl Ruckus 2011

Well, this isn’t really a “freshly-made” blog entry (I actually had it in the Spanish language version of this Blog since August 9th) but have not had the time to translate and proof it. I know: in these days of “instant translators” (such as Google Translate & Bing Translator) it should really be easy to just pop-in your text, get it out and be done with it…but some of us prefer to do things the “ole fashioned way”: using our brains and typing text. So, here is my review of this year’s “Pearl Ruckus”…

In the previous entry announcing he would travel to Los Angeles, California, to participate in the traditional "Pearl Ruckus" organized by the American Pearl Entreprenaeur Jeremy Shepherd, in order to gather toghether friends of what is probably the most important international pearl forum on the Internet: Pearl-Guide.com

Hollywood: Pearls we bring to you!

So, keeping to our appointed date (from July 22nd to the 24th) we all met in a beautiful mansion near the hill with the “Hollywood” sign … you will have to please forgive me the lack of photos but my camera "died" unexpectedly and the few images I was able of taking were using a borrowed camera (Thank You Sarah!). A total of 18 people came toghether thanks to the true hospitality and generosity of our hosts Jeremy & Hisano; we all had the opportunity to share & learn more about our fascinating gem (the pearl of course) and the changes that are happening within this industry.


On Saturday 23rd we had 3 presentations and a special necklace-making session. Presentations were given by:

  • Josh Humbert, pearl farmer from Ahe, French Polynesia. Josh is a black-pearl producer that takes pride in his high quality pearls grown in an environmental friendly way. Josh explained his “biological cleaning system” (which he calls “the silent workforce”) based on the use of reef fish, which are used to clean his pearl oysters and avoid labor costs. This is a very interesting system that also allows his farm to avoid pollution increases the local fish populations.
  • Douglas McLaurin of Guaymas, Mexico, with a discussion of the positive Environmental aspects of the operation of a pearl farm in the Gulf of California. This activity seems to have had a very positive effect on the repopulation of the native pearl oyster species and that will be also be used to enhance the reproductive potential of other native species.
  • Jeremy Shepherd Blaire Beavers gave us a very interesting talk about the new Chinese "Metallic Colored Freswater Pearls" (which some have called "Edison Pearls") and that are now being offered through Pearl-Paradise.com.
  • Hisano Takei, a very talented designer, was responsible for a special “designers & jewelry workshop”, among which we could find Caitlin Williams (moderator of the Pearl-Guide.com’s forum) and designers Sarah Cannizzaro (from Kojima Co.), Patricia Saab, Sheri Jurnecka, Cathy Tran, Cinde Newberry, Wendy Weaver, and Marianne Carter…

All these activities are conducted in a relaxed atmosphere that made ​​you feel as if in a group of good old friends instead of a formal, business-like meeting… this was –of course- a matter of pleasure for us all: the pleasure of talking and sharing our passion for all pearls.

By the way, Sarah Cannizzaro also made her own Pearl-Ruckus blog entry, which you may enjoy here!

Pearls and More Pearls

We all had the opportunity to showcase our best pieces: pearls from all corners of the world … Josh had his "Kamoka" black pearls, including a huge 18 mm diameter cultured black pearl, Sarah Cannizaro designed a uniquely-original “pearl tiara” incorporating various types of pearls: kasumi pearls from Japan, Chinese freshwaters and even a Cortez Mabe Pearl (by the way: the tiara had a tremendous success among us), Douglas had a pair of very special pearl necklaces and a group specially “Cherry picked” Cortez Cultured Pearls from the 2011 harvest, Patty had a very long string of Cortez pearls (measuring some 50 cm in lenght!) and she also had a very nice necklace made with "Osmeña Pearls" (made ​​from Nautilus shell) and -of course- Jeremy had the opportunity to show us the reason why he is sometimes considered as the "King of Pearls": not only because he travels the world in search of some of the finest pearls, but because he had 6 kilos of the so-called "Edison pearls" (which I prefer to call “Metallic Pastels”).

A touching moment occured when Jeremy thanked Caitlin for her hard work at the Pearl forum and gave her a beautiful necklace made with natural “Basra” pearls from the Persian Gulf region, complete with certificate of authenticity.


To all who attended and made ​​this the very best "Pearl Ruckus" ever. And, very importantly, I want to Thank our hosts Jeremy Shepherd and Hisano Takei, who made ​​us feel –at least for a couple of days- as authentic "Pearl Kings and Queens”. Next year’s Pearl Ruckus is rumored as if it could take place in the Philippines, with Jacques & Christopher Branellec –of Jewelmer fame- acting as hosts … but this is still an unconfirmed rumor. Where will the Sea of Cortez Pearl go in the near future? We’ll just have to wait & see…

Finally, and totally out of the whole “Pearl Ruckus” theme… I took this picture of a sculpture made from scrap-metal parts (motorcycle parts, gears, automotive engine parts, etc.) made ​​in the image of the famous movie-monster "Predator" as it harpoons another terrifying movie-monster "Alien". We never knew the name of the owner of the Hollywood mansion were the gathering was hosted, but I assume –based on the presence of this "altar"- that somehow he might have been involved with this film series. Maybe.