Gina Latendresse, President, American Pearl Company, Inc.
As a young child, Gina was immersed in pearls as the daughter of the late John R. Latendresse, who was one of the world’s experts on pearls – natural and cultured – as well as the “Father of American Pearls” for the only pearl farm in the USA. Her earliest memories include traveling to trade shows and grading pearls. Her pearl journey covers almost half a century during which time she gained extensive insight and experience of the pearl industry – cultured and natural, pearl farming, the North American mussel industry, and the nuclei industry. She graduated with a BA in Psychology and attended GIA – with Graduate Gemologist and Graduate Jeweler certifications. In 1991, she was inspired to join her family business and was appointed President of American Pearl Company, Inc. Carrying on her father’s legacy including a love of natural pearls, along with an amazing collection acquired over his lifetime, Gina also specializes in rare natural pearls, specifically from the Americas, the Tennessee & Mississippi river and its tributaries, and highly sought-after pearls such as the rare purple quahog pearls, abalone pearls, and conch pearls.