Press Release: AGTA GemFair Las Vegas is Kickoff Point for Rapaport’s Natural Pearl Auctions and Sales

The American Gem Trade Association’s (AGTA) 2023 GemFairTM Las Vegas will serve as the springboard for Rapaport’s first-ever natural Pearl auction and sales.

Martin Rapaport, the creator of the Diamond Price List—known as the Rap List—reached out to AGTA for a platform to unveil the new endeavor because the group’s DNA is rooted in ethics. The Rapaport Group will unveil lots of natural Pearls sourced primarily by Bahraini divers who operate under strict government supervision to ensure the protection of the natural habitat of the Pearl oysters found in the Gulf of Bahrain.

natural pearls from Bahrain
Natural pearls from Bahrain

The Bahrain Institute of Pearls and Gemstones (DANAT) has been instrumental in collecting, grading, and certifying the Pearls, and all will be offered for sale and verified as natural by DANAT. Until now, no entity has been able to offer natural Pearls found in the wild for sale on a regular basis. Bahrain and its surrounding waters have fertile breeding grounds for Pearl-producing oysters and have produced natural Pearls for centuries. This unique history and the partnership between Rapaport and DANAT to create a new market for verified natural Pearls—with AGTA GemFairTM Las Vegas as a destination for the U.S. jewelry trade to see them—is indeed a special opportunity for collectors.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to offer natural Pearls direct from the divers of Bahrain to the jewelry trade, and to unveil the Pearls to the U.S. during AGTA GemFairTM Las Vegas,” said Martin Rapaport, Chairman. ““Natural Pearls are an exceptional opportunity…they are a rare, valuable, historic gem well suited for specialized niche players such as medium size dealers and retailers.”

While an auction takes place on June 20 in Bahrain, viewings are taking place in New York City, Dubai, and Bahrain as well as Las Vegas during the JCK Show, in the AGTA GemFairTM Las Vegas specifically.

“This new initiative will provide Bahraini divers with direct access to the global jewelry industry,” said Noora Jamsheer, CEO of DANAT.

AGTA CEO John W. Ford Sr. welcomes Rapaport to GemFairTM Las Vegas floor. “The foundation of Martin’s new strategic initiative dovetails with AGTA’s focus on transparency and sustainable efforts in gem sourcing and sales,” he says.

Kimberly Collins, President of AGTA’s Board of Directors and Owner of Kimberly Collins Colored Gems, is also pleased to have the Rapaport team join the AGTA family. “We hope retailers and designers will come to Level 2 of the Venetian to see the natural Pearls and shop all the AGTA vendors, who adhere to the industry’s strongest code of ethics and most rigorous business practices,” she says.

AGTA Contact: [email protected]

Rapaport Media Contacts: [email protected]

Rapaport US: Sherri Hendricks +1-702-893-9400

Rapaport India: Sathi Nair +91-22-6628-6500


About AGTA: The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) is a not‐for‐profit association serving the colored gemstone and cultured Pearl industry since 1981. Headquartered in Dallas, members are trade professionals based in the U.S. and Canada, and AGTA is widely regarded as “The Authority in Color.” AGTA’s activities include organizing educational programs, trade shows, and printed materials and maintaining strong relationships with government officials and other jewelry trade groups. AGTA is committed to upholding the highest ethical standards and practices.

About the Rapaport Group: The Rapaport Group is an international network of companies providing added-value services that support the development of ethical, transparent, competitive, and efficient Diamond and jewelry markets. Established in 1976, the group has more than 20,000 clients in over 121 countries. Group activities include Rapaport Information Services, providing the Rapaport benchmark Diamond Price List, as well as news, analysis, and research; RapNet, the world’s largest Diamond trading network with daily listing of over 1.7 million Diamonds valued at more than $8 billion; and Rapaport Trading and Auction Services, the world’s largest recycler of Diamonds. Additional information is available at

About DANAT: The Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones (DANAT) is a world-class gemological laboratory and education and research center specializing in the testing and study of natural Pearls as a reflection of Bahrain’s ancient Pearling history and its desire to protect and advance Bahrain’s pearling heritage. DANAT’s expert team of gemologists supports clients and students from around the world through Pearl, gemstone, and Diamond identification and education services. DANAT was established in 2017 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company (Mumtalakat), the sovereign wealth fund of the Kingdom of Bahrain.