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 PEARL PRODUCERS AIM HIGHER


THE government's Myanmar Pearl Enterprise under the Ministry of Mines plans to increase the annual production of pearls in the country to more than 432,000 pieces by fiscal year 2006-2007.

In Myanmar there are two national companies -Oriental Pearl and Nino Pearl- and three foreign companies -Myanmar Andaman, Tasaki Shinju and Atlantic Pearl-involved in the business of pearl production.

Total pearl production from eight breeding centres in the last fiscal year (2003 2004) was more than 179,000 pieces or 72,000 momme (the weight measurement for pears in Japan; one momme equals 3.75 grams or 18.7 carats). This was an increase of 52,000 pieces (33,000 momme) compared to production in 2002-2003.

The enterprise plans to increase production to 237,100 pieces (103,830 momme) during the current fiscal year.

There are four major types of pearls in the world market: fresh water, Akoya, black and South Sea. Akoya pearls are produced mainly in Japan and black pearls in Tahiti.

Myanmar- along with Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines -produces South Sea pearls, which are the rarest of the four types and fetch the highest prices. The production of pearls in Myanmar declined in the 19805 and 19905 due to inadequate culturing techniques but experienced a resurgence in early 2000 when the Japanese company, Tasaki Shinju, introduced improved techniques to Myanmar.

The price of pearls in world market has declined in the past few years, and Myanmar is no exception. The average price of one momme of pearls was $130 at the most recent Myanmar Gems Emporium in March, down from $157 in March 2003.

The price of pearls varies according to their quality and can range from $20 to more than $1000 a momme.

Lustre, nacre thickness, surface quality, col- our, size and shape are all important factors in determining the quality of a pearl.

Round and drop shapes are more popular than semi-round, button, circle and mixed shapes.
Although they are not one of the most durable gems, they are also not the most fragile. They are harder than fingernails but softer than glass.

Since pearls are sensitive to chemicals and chemical products, it is advisable to put on pearl jewellery only after applying makeup, hairsprays and perfumes.

Pearls should never be cleaned with detergents that can damage their brightness. Perspiration or dust should be removed with a soft cloth moistened with water.

Acid and heat are also harmful for pearls, so they should be removed while showering and cooking.

They should not be stored with diamonds or other hard stones that can scratch their surface.

 

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Copyright © 2006 by Myanmar Gems.
Prepared by DPS. Last Modified: 23 May, 2008 (slm)

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