Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Precious stones in the Phillipines

I have a friend who is spending several weeks in the Phillipines at
the end of June, and he is interested in buying some stones. Could
any Ohchidites from that area suggest someone reputable who could
help guide him? I am afraid that on his own he will get cheated.

Janet Kofoed

Tell him to visit the big pearl market. Anyone can tell him where it

Masses of sellers with small stalls selling everything you can



We live about half the time in the Philippines. My Wife if a
Filipina. We are both Graduate Gemologists(GIA) There is very little
to no natural gemstones commercially mined in the Philippines. There
are a few minor occurrences of gems, but to date nothing of major

There are Cultured pearls grown by Jewelmer. They usually sell
wholesale to the trade or retail to a private individual. I suggest
your friend save their gemstone buying money for a trip to Thailand.

Thomas Cavagnaro
CAVA Studio

I don’t know abou but Phillipines is well know for the
golden pearls farmed by JEWELMER, and Jacques Christophe Branellec is
very nice guy.

Vlad R Poenaru

First, the Philippines aren’t a good gem market, nor buying centre
at all- if you find any they are reselling probably imported chinese
materials .You may find a stone shop, or rather he might, but there
is a larger pearl market. Tje best pearls in the Phillipines come
from a company that cultures pearls nicer than Akoya called
JewelMer-/ Mr. Jaques- Christophe (Barenelleac) is a very fair trader
(and proprietor). His golden pearls are sought after worldwide. His
prices are reasonable to legitimate businesses, particularly if
repeat business id discussed (. Provided your friend is a legit.
business) Remind him to bring a copy of his license to fill out the
wholesale rate forms on the spot for an account as opposed to faxing
back and forth from the US or wherever you are. He had some baroque
golden pearls Cellini would have loved! Definitely worth a trip to
meet him. There is also a number of other cultured pearl farms that
meet at least twice a month in a pearl market- worth checking out
!.Don’t buy at face price unless the grade looks like it should be
cheap (discussing what to look for would take too long in this
forum)- slightly off shapes but good layers of nacre are fine for
beginners and readily available. A fair price for golden pearls in a
6-7mm size at the farm run anywhere from 30 USD up to over 500
(larger than that I think they look gaudy) , A round 10-12mm and
perhaps imperfect but rare pendeloque shape is worth buying with
some bargains. running under 40 each for champagne to almost golden
colours (they will be slightly beige and in strands about 3-4mm),
blacks from 20 - 150USD. Smallish almost perfect rounds run around
35-50 USD for nice black or peacock natural and cultivated pearls at
the market- but beware of dyeing. ask about dyes !.bring a friend
that’s a native if you can.

If your friend is near Jolo, and can find badjaos- the water
dwelling gypsies from Borneo and Malaysia who dive for pearls, they
can negotiate for their natural pearls which are amazing, and can be
had in a range of colours and larger than normal sizes at lower than
market rates. These people live on houseboats for the most part so
asking around the islands of Jolo and Sias/Siasi and asking anywhere
on the southern coast if they are around. If your friend is going
to meet or stay with some Filipinos they may know where to go
directly or arrange a meeting with them, or a representative. these
aren’t cultured pearls! but larger many coloured and rarer. so a bit
higher relative to the farmed stuff in the markets. Black and. Golden
are highest priced. The “black” pearls are usually second and white
cheapest- but relative to the shapes and mm of the piece or strand.
There are also fakes in the market too. If 2 pieces rubbed together
don’t give some resistance when rubbed lightly they may be fish scale
fakes which slip too easily off of each other as if they were
polished. they are also noticeably cheaper than any others.

hope this helps. rer