(DALLAS) – The American Gem Trade Association’s (AGTA) 2023 GemFair™ Las Vegas will serve as the springboard for Rapaport’s first-ever natural pearl auction and sales.
Martin Rapaport, the creator of the Diamond Price List – known as the Rap List – reached out to AGTA for a platform to unveil the new endeavor because the group’s DNA is rooted in ethics. The Rapaport Group will unveil lots of natural pearls sourced primarily by Bahraini divers who operate under strict government supervision to ensure the protection of the natural habitat of the pearl oysters found in the Gulf of Bahrain.
The Bahrain Institute of Pearls and Gemstones (DANAT) has been instrumental in collecting, grading, and certifying the pearls, all of which will be offered for sale and verified as natural by DANAT. Until now, no entity has been able to offer natural pearls found in the wild for sale on a regular basis. Bahrain and its surrounding waters have fertile breeding grounds for pearl-producing oysters and have produced natural pearls for centuries. This unique history and the partnership between Rapaport and DANAT to create a new market for verified natural pearls – with AGTA GemFair™ Las Vegas as a destination for the U.S. jewelry trade to see them – is a special opportunity for collectors.
“We are delighted to have this opportunity to offer natural pearls direct from the divers of Bahrain to the jewelry trade, and to unveil the pearls to the U.S. during AGTA GemFair™ Las Vegas,” said Martin Rapaport, Chairman. “Natural Pearls are an exceptional opportunity … they are a rare, valuable, historic gem well suited for specialized niche players such as medium size dealers and retailers.”
While an auction takes place on June 20 in Bahrain, viewings are taking place in New York City, Dubai, and Bahrain as well as Las Vegas during the JCK Show, in the AGTA GemFair™ Las Vegas specifically.
“This new initiative will provide Bahraini divers with direct access to the global jewelry industry,” said Noora Jamsheer, CEO of DANAT.
AGTA CEO John W. Ford Sr. welcomes Rapaport to the GemFair™ Las Vegas floor. “The foundation of Martin’s new strategic initiative dovetails with AGTA’s focus on transparency and sustainable efforts in gem sourcing and sales,” he says.
Kimberly Collins, President of AGTA’s Board of Directors and owner of Kimberly Collins Colored Gems, is also pleased to have the Rapaport team join the AGTA family. “We hope retailers and designers will come to Level 2 of the Venetian to see the natural pearls and shop all the AGTA vendors, who adhere to the industry’s strongest code of ethics and most rigorous business practices,” she says.