The most high-profile position at the Oscars is the person who presents the “Best Picture” award. That honor on Sunday went to Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts. The Oscar-winning actress and producer skipped the red carpet so no one saw her until the end of the program when she appeared wearing the most fabulous of earrings by high jewelry artist Cindy Chao, The Art Jewel.
The Architectural Earrings, from Chao’s collection, consists of two pear-shaped diamonds with a total weight of 20.28 carats, with 16 conch pearls, and pavé diamond all set on 18k yellow gold.
Conch pearls are a beautiful by-product of the Caribbeans culinary delicacy. Caught primarily for its meat, the Queen conch is eaten throughout the Caribbean and the USA, raw in salads or cooked as chowders and fritters.
Overfishing in many of the locations in which the Queen conch is found has forced all but three conch-producing countries to ban fishing to protect populations, which it is predicted will not recover for decades. This means fewer conch pearls are coming to market. Only one in ten thousand queen conches can yield a conch pearl, out of which only about 10% are of gem quality.
Prior to the introduction of the cultured pearl in the 1920s, natural pearls were as highly prized as rubies, emeralds and diamonds. Once cultured varieties flooded the market, however, pearls lost their exclusive tag. Conch pearls, on the other hand, are formed completely naturally and only found in very specific areas in the Caribbean. So far, no cultured conch pearls have come to market, making them exceedingly rare. The desire for uniqueness among jewelry buyers has never been stronger, and conch pearls fit the bill perfectly.
The Gem of the Bahamas, the lustrous pink conch pearl, carefully set in hand crafted designs.
You can find the gem of the Bahamas, the lustrous pink conch pearl, at Coin of the Realm Jewelry store in Nassau, New Providence. Coin of the Realm is a long standing, family run boutique with exceptional pieces from around the world. They also specialize in an extensive collection of rare Bahamian coins, stamps and of course the national gem of the Bahamas, the conch pearl. Stop at Coin of the Realm before or after your charter onboard Yacht Sweet Escape; experience and observe the conch in its natural habitat in the shallow, warm waters of The Bahamas before they are all gone. Numbers are decreasing globally. The Bahamas is one of only a few nations where substantial populations of queen conch remain.