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.