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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Japanese Pearl Industry Update During Disaster

Crown quality Japanese Akoya pearls shown by Imperial-Deltah pearl company during AGTA GemFair.

Obviously, the ongoing life and death situation from the tri-level tragedy in Japan are dominating the concerns of the Japanese people right now so there isn’t a lot to report regarding the country’s vitally important pearl industry. However, some news has trickled out and so far it seems that the pearl industry and more importantly those who work in the industry are largely unscathed.

First, Mikimoto, the largest and most famous pearl company in Japan, reports on its website that it has “confirmed the safety of all Mikimoto employees in Japan. Mikimoto stores, buildings, factories and facilities, including our pearl farm, have not sustained major damage.”

Meanwhile, Terry Shepherd, president of The Pearl Outlet, Woodland, Wash., gave a rundown on the situation on the Pearl-Guide message board, and again the news is largely as good as can be, considering the circumstances. The post includes the following note:

Cultivation areas: no major damages in initial reports

*Shima region: minor damage to rafts by tsunami
*Ehime: mostly OK
*Nagasaki & Kumamoto: mostly OK

As Mikimoto noted, Google has set up a crisis response website for this disaster at

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