A Pearl Like No Other: New, Patented Cultured Pearl Features Gemstone Center

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In the most significant development since cultured pearls were first introduced in the early 20th century, a Los Angeles-based jeweler has introduced the Galatea Mercy Pearl. The gem, which is set in a full collection of fine jewelry, features a gemstone center which can be seen after each pearl is hand-carved.

Galatea of San Dimas, California has launched a new line of fine jewelry featuring the Galatea Mercy Pearl™, the world's first gemstone-enucleated carved cultured pearl. The collection includes earrings, pendants and rings set in white and yellow 14k gold.

Chi Huynh is the Mercy Pearl's creator and the owner of Galatea. In 2005, he was awarded U.S. Patent #7,062,940 for the proprietary process that uses a center bead of gemstone rather than traditional shell for pearl culturing. Each Mercy Pearl is carved by hand to reveal the beauty of the gemstone beneath the pearl's luminescent surface. It is one of the most significant variations in pearl farming since the early part of the 20th century when pearls were first cultured in Japan.

Huynh, who is known for his hand-carved cultured pearls, opened his company in 1994. He came upon the idea for the Mercy Pearl in early 2000 after nicking a traditional pearl during the carving process and exposing its mother-of-pearl center. "I thought to myself, 'what would happen if I grew a pearl using gemstone beads to let the color show through?''' says Huynh. Shortly after, he began the time-consuming process to culture and eventually patent the Mercy Pearl, which was originally grown in the warm waters of Tahiti.

In 2005, Huynh began setting up a pearl farm in his native Viet Nam to harvest the Mercy Pearl in the country's coastal waters. The oysters are first enucleated with perfectly round gemstone beads such as turquoise, amethyst, garnet, citrine and opal and left to grow for almost a year to obtain its luxurious nacre or exterior coating. The pearls are then carved by hand with signature Galatea flourishes to let the gemstone beneath the pearl shine through.

The new Mercy Pearl line also includes variations on the Galatea Diamond in a Pearl™, one of Galatea's best known and best selling designs. Each Diamond in a Pearl contains a delicate setting that holds a round brilliant diamond. Both the Galatea Mercy and Diamond in a Pearl collections are set in 14k white and yellow gold and include pendants, earrings and rings. Retail prices range from $300 to $3500.

Chi Huynh is the founder and creative force behind Galatea of San Dimas, California. A painter, poet and humanitarian, Huynh founded the company in 1994. He learned the jewelry trade by apprenticing for his father, one of Viet Nam's most respected jewelers. Today, Galatea manufactures both in the U.S. and Viet Nam and sells to approximately 1500 retail jewelers throughout the United States. The company also has distribution in both Europe and Asia. For additional information about Galatea, the Galatea Mercy Pearl or Galatea Diamond in a Pearl collections, please visit the website at http://www.galateausa.com. Please contact Barbara Moss at 862-596-8000 or by email at americanwillow(at)gmail(dot)com for interviews with Chi Huynh or for additional high-resolution images.

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Barbara Moss
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