hile the folks at Silverhorn are on constant alert for the finest
gemstones and mineral specimens, and Daniel Gibbings
seeks to recreate the touch and feel of ancient gold,
’s passion is pearls. His acquisitive travel has taken him
to New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, the Caribbean, the South
Seas and elsewhere, through small fishing villages and camps on remote islands in his quest for
the perfect pearl.
“It’s like finding the finest Kashmir sapphire, the Burmese ruby, something that gets you
going and keeps you going,” he says sitting on the patio outside Pierre Lafond in Montecito’s
by James Buckley
Jeremy’s specialty is and has been
pearls – he does not deal in cultured pearls – ever since a friend of his revealed a
treasure box of abalone pearls he had collected over the years. Norris was intrigued. That was some 18 years ago; he’s been diving for
abalone for more than twenty.
“I fell in love with them because of the strength of their colors: vibrant blues, pinks, greens... colors you don’t really see in other
kinds of pearls,” he says, adding that, “Depending upon the location, one in thirty-thousand to fifty-thousand abalone will have
some kind of fine pearl, so it’s quite rare.” That rarity, he says, is what makes the search so worthwhile and the discovery of an
exceptional specimen so satisfying.
Different areas of the world produce different kinds of pearls. The Persian Gulf and the waters off the coast of India,
for example, are historically best known for natural white or cream-colored pearls. “In the 1500s,” Jeremy says, “Spaniards
realized there were natural colored pearls coming out of the waters of French Polynesia and off the coast of South and
Central America. That’s when you started seeing these beautiful black pearls with overtones of greens and pinks and blues
coming on the market.
“What most people don’t realize,” he continues, “is that when the Spaniards first came over here, they were in search of
There was a time when natural pearls held more value than almost any other type of natural gemstone.”