Hong Kong Jewellery Show: The World’s Largest Assemblage of Cultured Pearls

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More than 1,200 metric tons of freshwater cultured pearls were produced in China in 2011. Buttons, rounds, semi-rounds and lower-quality dyed pearls at this Chinese wholesaler's booth at the 2012 Hong Kong Jewellery Show are typical of that production. Photo by Russell Shor
Cultured pearls are farmed all over the Pacific Rim and the rivers and lakes of China. Regardless of origin, the vast majority—South Sea, akoya, French Polynesian black or golden from the Philippines—are sold through Hong Kong.

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A river of cultured pearls of all sizes and varieties was on display at the 2012 show, the
largest of its kind in the world. Photo by Russell Shor.
Nowhere is that more evident than at the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair, held in mid-September each year. The show takes place in two venues, the Asia World Expo near the airport and the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre in the heart of the city, and thousands will flock to there to buy and sell once again 11-17 Sept. 2013.
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This assortment of Chinese freshwater cultured pearls shows the wide variety of sizes and colors sold at the 2012 Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair. Photo by Russell Shor.
Nearly 1,000 pearl wholesalers assemble in a dedicated PearlPavilion at the Asia World Expo, which is the largest accumulation of cultured pearls in any single place. Top brands also show their finest merchandise at the Hong Kong Premier Pavilion in the convention center. Many of the major saltwater pearl producers, including Paspaley Pearling Company and Robert Wan, auction their new goods in conjunction with the show.