The Sinkankas Symposium – Pearl


    Elisabeth Strack

    An indispensable scientifically grounded reference work about pearls that resembles an exciting novel. The book covers the characteristics of pearls and cultured pearls. All pearl treatments and modern analysis methods are explained like microscopes, UV lamps, X-ray devices and others. This standard book offers a fantastic insight into five millennia of pearl history. Elisabeth Strack visited many pearls farms. She gives unique detailed information and explains how to assess pearls for purchasing.

    Hardcover, 696 pages, size: 7.68" x 9.84", 600+ color photos, 77 illustrations. Ruehle-Diebener-Verlag Publishing.

    US $129.

    GIA Store »


    Dona Dirlam and Robert Weldon, eds.
    Splendour & Science of Pearls

    Decades of research, compelling photography and historical anecdotes have culminated in the lavishly illustrated book that covers pearl history, natural and cultured pearl sources, pearls in fashion, GIA's 7 Pearl Value Factors™ (size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality and matching) for evaluating pearl quality and the future of pearls.

    Hardcover, 149 pages. 1st edition.

    US $49.

    GIA Store »


    Fred Ward

    This volume is part of a series of gem books written and photographed by Fred Ward. Each book is the result of a 14-year global search into the history, geology, lore and sources of these priceless treasures.

    Paperback, 65 pages. Revised edition.

    US $19.95

    GIA Store »




Black pearl, 13.40 cts. Photo: Mia Dixon. Courtesy of Pala International Inc

Registration: NOW OPEN »

Named for one of the most distinguished and influential figures in gemology and mineralogy, the Sinkankas Symposium is an annual one-day event featuring presentations by noted specialists working in diverse gem-related disciplines.  The theme of the Sixteenth Annual Sinkankas Symposium is Pearl.

The Sinkankas Symposium has been described as the most important gemological conference in North America by respected authorities on gemstones.  Organized by Roger Merk for 13 years (2003–2015), the annual event is co-sponsored by the Gemological Society of San Diego (GSSD) and the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), which has provided the Symposium venue every year.  Bill Larson has been a generous supporter and speaker at the event since its inception. 



The program for the Sixteenth Annual Sinkankas Symposium will feature speaker presentations during the morning session. During the afternoon session a panel discussion will be moderated by Robert Weldon following short presentations by three featured speakers. At 4:30PM Jeremy Shepherd will present a documentary film, "Power of Pearl," by Ahbra Perry and Taylor Higgins. The film concludes at 6PM. View a preview of the film »



Saturday, April 27, 2019

GIA (Gemological Institute of America)
World Headquarters and The Robert Mouawad Campus
5345 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008



Interest in the Sinkankas Symposium and attendance has grown every year.  Space is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Registration will open on Tuesday, February 12.  Registration for the one-day event includes refreshments, lunch and a copy of the 2019 Sinkankas Symposium volume, which features selected papers on Pearl.

Registration: NOW OPEN »

Cost: $110.00 per person through March 15, 2019 (early-bird registration); $125.00 from March 16 through April 25, 2019.

Each registrant must appear on the GIA parking list under his/her own name (no group registration under one name). Bring valid government ID with picture. You must be on the parking reservation list to access the event.




Recognized specialists will make presentations on Pearl.

Elisabeth Strack – An Update on Pearl Localities

Betty Sue King – Evolution of the Pearl Goddess

Bill Larson – Collecting Rare and Unusual Pearls

Stuart Robertson – Pearls: Their Market and Price Trends

Chunhui Zhou – A Brief History of Pearl Testing Through Gems & Gemology

Douglas McLaurin – Baja Pearls

Blaire Beavers – The History of Pearls

Marisa Goebel, panelist

Hisano Shepherd, panelist

Dona Dirlam, panelist – My Favorite Pearl Jewelry Books

* Speakers subject to change



© 2009– 2019 Lisbet Thoresen. All Rights Reserved.   Editor and Designer: Lisbet Thoresen