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This Enormous Pearl May Be Worth $90M — Take a Look

Its owner wants to display it in museums and galleries around the world.

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Abraham Reyes with the 61-pound “Giga Pearl”.

RESEMBLING A DINOSAUR’S TOOTH and weighing an astonishing 61 pounds, the Philippine-sourced “Giga Pearl” is one of the largest in the world and could be worth upwards of $90 million.

Currently owned by Ontario native Abraham Reyes, The Giga Pearl had been a family heirloom for 60 years. The natural pearl was hidden within a giant clam his grandfather had purchased from a Filipino fisherman as a gift for Reyes’ aunt. It was 1959.

Even when the cream-colored mass was discovered inside, family members didn’t think it had much value.

In fact, some weren’t convinced it was a pearl. Reyes and his aunt, however, always had an affection for the odd collectible, which she displayed along with her artwork and antiquities.

In 2016, when Reyes’ aunt began divvying up her estate, the mollusk-born treasure and 15,000 Oriental and Philippine antiques were passed on to him.

Reyes, who is a mineral broker, kept the pearl in a safety deposit box until he could have it evaluated by gemologists. The 34-year-old from Mississauga soon learned that his aunt’s collectible was certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as the largest natural blister pearl in the world. Blister pearls are different than conventional pearls because they grow attached to the inside surface of a shell.

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The waters of the Philippines are home to one of the most fascinating mollusks on earth — the Tridactna Gigas. They are the largest mollusks in the fossil record, measuring more than a meter wide and weighing more than 200 kilograms.

Insurance appraisers have placed the value of The Giga Pearl at somewhere between $60 million and $90 million, according to Reyes.

“It’s priceless to me,” Reyes told CBC Toronto. “I believe the world should know that it does exist. To me, I feel very honored to have it. I feel a great responsibility.”

Ideally, Reyes would love to display The Giga Pearl in museums and galleries around the world. The pearl is currently paired with a 22-karat gold leaf octopus conceived by New York-based sculptor Bethany Krull.

“Seeing this incredible natural pearl and learning of its origins in the Philippine Seas … inspired me to create a sculpture that not only displays the pearl’s magnificence but also reiterates the idea that the biodiversity and uniqueness of the waters to which it was born need to be respected and preserved,” Krull said.

Back in 2016, we reported on the 75-pound Puerto Princesa pearl, which was found by a Filipino fisherman when his anchor got snagged on a giant clam. He had kept the pearl under his bed as a good luck charm for 10 years, and every time he would head out to sea, he would touch the pearl to ensure his safety and good fortune.

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The fisherman entrusted the amazing pearl to Aileen Cynthia Maggay-Amurao, a relative who was affiliated with the Puerto Princesa tourism office. He asked her to take custody of the good luck charm because he was about to move outside the province and couldn’t take it with him.

Recognizing the pearl’s star power, she asked the fisherman if he would approve of the pearl going on display as the city’s newest tourist attraction. He agreed, and the “Pearl of Puerto” was moved into the Atrium of the New Green City Hall.

GALLERY (4 IMAGES)

Howard Cohen is the Shoreham, NY-based editor of The Jeweler Blog, a daily blog ghost-written for retail jewelers. Cohen, a long-time industry veteran, is dedicated to making social media tasks simple and affordable for every jeweler. For more information, visit thejewelerblog.com or contact Cohen at 631-821- 8867, hscohen60@gmail.com. Websites: thejewelerblog.com, thejewelerblog.wordpress.com.

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2 Accused of Selling Counterfeit Pandora Jewelry in $2M Fraud Case

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BALTIMORE, MD – A federal grand jury has indicted two residents of Covina, CA, on a federal conspiracy charge, mail fraud, and trafficking in counterfeit goods.

They’re accused of importing and selling counterfeit Pandora jewelry and Ray-Ban sunglasses in a $2 million-plus fraud scheme. Xiaoying Xu, age 34, a Chinese citizen, and Yiwen Zhu, age 34, a Chinese citizen and legal permanent resident of the U.S., allegedly conspired with others to defraud e-commerce customers in the scheme.

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“These defendants allegedly imported counterfeit goods from China and sold them as legitimate merchandise using the registered trademarks of legitimate companies,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Those who traffic in counterfeit goods are committing a crime which results in American jobs lost, American business profits stolen, and American consumers tricked into receiving substandard products.”

The crimes are alleged to have occurred from August 2016 through approximately April 2019, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

The indictment alleges that the defendants used their residence and offices in El Monte and Alhambra, CA, as destination points for shipments of counterfeit goods shipped from Hong Kong and China. Xu and Zhu allegedly repackaged the counterfeit goods, then mailed them to unsuspecting customers throughout the U.S. who believed they had purchased authentic goods.

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The defendants allegedly used fraudulent accounts set up with e-commerce marketplace companies to sell the counterfeit goods. Xu and Zhu allegedly obtained funds from the victims through fraudulently acquired customer accounts opened in the names of other people at a global online payment company. The online payment company sent the victims’ money to Xu and Zhu by electronic transfer to bank accounts or by check, which the defendants then cashed at ATMs, according to the press release. The indictment alleges that the defendants then transferred the proceeds of the scheme from their bank accounts to other bank accounts opened in the names of other Chinese nationals.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and traffic in counterfeit goods; a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of six counts of mail fraud; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for each of six counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods. The defendants are expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California. No court appearance has been scheduled yet in Maryland.

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News Report Reveals Sordid Details of Alleged Sexual Harassment At Signet

It’s based on interviews with dozens of female former employees.

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A New York Times report reveals salacious details related to allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination within Signet’s Sterling Jewelers business.

The story, titled “The Company That Sells Love to America Had a Dark Secret,” is based on interviews with dozens of female former employees.

Some of the employees described being repeatedly passed over for promotions in favor of men, according to the article by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. Others said they’d been sexually harassed.

One woman told the writer that a district manager coerced her into sex in exchange for a transfer she wanted.

A rape accusation is also described.

INSTORE reported in March 2017 that about 250 former employees of Sterling, which operates Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Kay Jewelers and Zales, were alleging that the company culture was rife with sexual discrimination and harassment. The claims were part of an arbitration case that dates to 2008.

Litigation is still ongoing.

In response to the New York Times story, Signet released a statement saying: “We’re disappointed that The New York Times decided to publish an article primarily based on decades-old allegations, and we believe casts our company unfairly. Signet is a recognized leader among companies for gender diversity, with women making up 74 percent of store management positions and full gender parity in both the [senior executive suite] and board of directors. Under the leadership of our CEO Gina Drosos, we are undeterred in our ongoing mission to champion diversity and inclusion as a strategic priority and in our multi-year business transformation plan.”

Read more at The New York Times 

 

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Rooftop Burglars Take Everything from Jewelry Store

They even stole repair items.

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Burglars cut through the roof of a jewelry store in Laguna Niguel, CA, and took “all items in the store, including repair pieces,” the Jewelers’ Security Alliance reports.

KCAL-TV identfied the business as Nuggets and Carats Jewelry Store.

According to JSA, the burglars “cut through the roof, used a rope to lower themselves in, and cut into the safe.”

They also “removed another safe from the store, which was dragged out a back door into a parking lot.”

The crime took place on the evening of March 23.

JSA states that it has seen a nationwide uptick in the number of reports of burglaries involving rooftop entry or cutting through sidewalls, with some involving cutting alarm wires.

According to KCAL, store owner Brian Hassine said of the safe: “It’s a 6-inch deep safe. It’s got a plate on the outside that needed to be cut with some type of a laser or saw, and they had to cut away at the concrete, and then another plate they had to go through.”

Find out more at KCAL-TV

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