(Taken from Modern Jeweler Magazine Online)
Thursday, May 31st, 2007
Pearl farmers live in some of the world’s most beautiful places: sheltered lagoons with pristine clean waters and some of the world’s highest biodiversity. But this closeness to nature also means that they are also one of the most vulnerable industries to climate change. At this year’s GIA Gemfest in Basel, which featured leading pearl producers from all over the world, the topic of the threat of global warming to the quantity and quality of pearl production was one of the interesting topics raised. I talked to Jacques Branellec of Jewelmer, the leading producer of South Sea cultured pearls in the Philippines, and Martin Coeroli, the managing director of Perles de Tahiti, about climate change and the possible impact on pearls. As you can see in my video on Pearls and Global Warming, South Sea pearls and Tahitian pearls may be even rarer in the years to come. The threat is most acute in the tropical producing regions near the equator, where even a one or two degree rise in sea temperature can result in oyster mortality. Typhoons, always a threat to pearl farms, may cause additional damage. It really brings home how pearl farming is an amazing organic industry: a clean and sustainable source of employment in some of the world’s most beautiful places that actually improves the habitat for marine life in the surrounding areas.