1. Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Assistant Under-secretary for the Sector of Culture and Heritage in Bahrain’s Ministry of Information, opens first international Pearl Convention in Abu Dhabi on Monday. (pic attached as sheikha Mai)
2. Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Assistant Under-secretary for the Sector of Culture and Heritage in Bahrain’s Ministry of Information, Khaled Al Sayegh, Chairman of International Pearl Revival Committee, Dr. Gaitone Cavalieri, president of CIBJO at the opening ceremony of first international pearl convention. ((pic attached as IPC opening)
Abu Dhbai, November 19, 2007 - HH Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Assistant Under-secretary for the Sector of Culture and Heritage in Bahrain’s Ministry of Information, has opened the first International Pearl convention, the in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Convention expected to bridge yesterday’s tradition with tomorrows market needs corresponding to the changing fashion needs of new generation. “The convention will indeed lay the foundation for a remarkable and unique revival that gives us back our wonderful history within the pearl industry,” said Shaikha Mai, during her opening speech. “Currently, the global pearl farming is a $1.5-billion industry. In value terms, more than 50 per cent of this trade is composed of black pearls. Revival of the pearl industry is expected to boost the region's economy as a whole, which is now trying to tap more from non-oil industry,” she added.During his speech, Chairman of the Internatianal Pearl Revivival committee, Khaled Al Sayegh, said, “Though pearling has been an important economic activity in the Gulf region since ancient times, and pearling flourusihed from the latter half of the 19th century to the early decades of the 20th century, the discovery of oil and the invention of cultured pearls seemingly has put an end to the old days. But there is a purposeful effort to reestablish the pearling industry in the UAE. With this end in view, we have decided to host the First International Pearl Convention.”
Speakers at the four day long convention include Dr. Gaitone Cavalieri has now served as president of CIBJO for more than five years, Kenneth Scarratt Director of research for GIA Research Thailand and has 30 years of experience as a laboratory gemologist, Elisabeth Strack, from Gemmologisches Institut Hamburg, Germany, Stephen J. Kennedy Gemologist of the Gem Testing Laboratory of Great Britain. Worked and researched a lot in pearl treatment in past years, Nicholas Sturman gemological advisor of the Gem & Pearl Testing Laboratory, Manama, Bahrain, with experience more than 15 years in pearl testing, Shigeru Akamatsu General Manager, Sales Promotion Department, Mikimoto and Sutas Singbamorong Gem specialist Dubai central laboratory with experience more than 10 years in gemology had a lot of researches in gemstone and pearl.
"Historically, the world's best pearls came from the Gulf. They were naturally created and collected by breath-holding divers. The discovery of large deposits of oil put an abrupt end to pearl industry in early 1930's. Those who once fished pearls sought prosperity in the economic boom ushered in by the oil industry," said Abdulla Abdelqadir Al Muaini, head of Dubai Gemstone Lab Dubai Central Laboratory and officer on special duty, IPC & chairman of the organizing committee for seminars and summit.
"This initiative marks the re-initiation of our native trade which is also very close to our cultural heritage. In this region, pearl diving was the chief means of earning a livelihood, in the early 20th century. The seas surrounding the UAE were home to some of the best-known natural pearls, and local pearl divers made a decent living diving for pearls. We see great economic growth through the revival of the pearl industry via the global recognition of its point of origination," he concluded.