- All About Pearls
- About the Pearl Goddess
Betty Sue King, the Pearl Goddess, was the daughter of first-generation immigrants from mainland China, "caring, loyal and dedicated" parents who owned a small specialty grocery store in New York City before heading West with their children.
She inaugurated King's Ransom in 1979. After 14 years of classroom teaching she left the profession and created her wholesale business. Renowned for having pearls that extend the boundaries of opulence, she travels overseas several times a year to source her remarkable collection.
In a fascinating interview, Betty Sue speaks for a whole hour on her background, how pearls came about, how she became involved in it, what qualifies her to be a goddess (You have the guts to do it), what differentiates pearls colors, what makes the colors in pearls, races of pearls, what makes value in pearls, how to tell a dyed pearl from a natural-colored one, cultured vs natural pearls, where pearl nucleation materials come from (Tennessee), how the Chinese made Buddha Blister Pearls thousands of years ago. And (you guessed it, much more). [Also available at this link]
A firm member, Betty Sue exhibits at the American Gem Trade Association Tucson GemFair™ and at the Society of North American Goldsmith Conferences. In past years she has exhibited at JCK Las Vegas, JA New York and MJSA. She served on the Board of Directors of AGTA for over nine years on the Membership, Executive and Promotion/Spectrum Committees.
Betty Sue is a member of the WJA Northern California Chapter, the GIA Alumni Association Golden Gate Chapter and a foundation member of Cultured Pearl Association of America. She received the Shining Star Award from the WJA in 2013, for having shown extraordinary service throughout the year.
As a pearl specialist her industry and public education lectures are grounded by years of classroom teaching. Her presentations include AGTA Tucson GemFair Seminars, Antique Jewelry & Art Conferences, Los Angeles County Museum, WJA, GIA at Carlsbad and Alumni Associations, SNAG, NAJA, ISA, ASA, FIT and College of Marin. Retailers appreciating their need to be better informed, call on her to train their staff about the wonders of pearls.
Editors, appraisers & writers of trade journals contact Betty Sue for the update on current products, prices and trends. She has contributed updates on cultured pearl treatments to AGTA's Gemstone and Enhancement Brochure and to CIBJO's disclosure policies on pearls. Her collective knowledge of pearls is frequently quoted in numerous publications.
Donations to charitable organizations go hand in hand with her philosophy of replenishing the community. Marin Abused Women's Services, SNAG, CPAA, The Crucible in Oakland, CA, Lucille Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, Grand Circle Foundation, WJA and GIA Alumni Association are but some of the beneficiaries of the Pearl Goddess' treasures and cash contributions. She's served many holiday meals at Glide Memorial Church of San Francisco and is a retired Sustainer of the Junior League of San Francisco. When president of the Phoenix Desert Jade Junior Women's Club she visited the child sponsored in Hong Kong.
Modern Jeweler, January 2009 published her essay, How Green Are Your Pearls? an ecological view of pearl cultivation. In GIA's Loupe she is quoted often in the January 2009 on line issue "Asia's Cultured Treats". Pearl World Journal quoted from her notes on the GIA Pearl Tour of the South Pacific in 2007 and printed her photographs from the 2008 trip. The June 2008 issue of Canada's Jewellery Business Magazine published her article on "Pearls 101". She reviewed the book Pearls, A Natural History for the GIA publication, "Gems & Gemology". Her experiences as one in the trenches in the pearl industry can be read in her chapter in Auction Market Resource, June 2002, "Cultured Pearls Galore: A Tucson Retrospective". An avid photographer, many of her images have been published in magazines, books and used on the GIA website. Her avant-garde round freshwater cultured pearls graced the cover of GIA Summer 2000 G & G.
The Sunday New York Times, cooking gourmet meals, dining, movies, gardening, orchids, and staying connected with wonderful friendships made traveling throughout the world top the list of her favorite things. A safari to countries in Southern Africa was memorable for being completely off the grid. It was fabulous and humbling to experience the cultures of indigenous people, their kindness, open hearts and dedicated spirits.
You may follow Betty Sue's pearly finds and adventures on Facebook. She travels three times a year seeking inspirational pearls on overseas buying trips. On her return, designers eagerly await to be first in line for new treasures. Clients are welcomed to a relaxed setting in King's Ransom's sunny office where design inspiration begins anew.
Bonds in industry and public service enrich life reinforcing her belief - success is best when shared. Betty Sue King shines at providing "Pearls without limits for designs without boundaries". Her passion for knowledge, personal service, ethical practices and mentoring are the foundation of King's Ransom, the Pearl Goddess.
Here is a 2010 interview by LadyLux on trends, styles, and shapes of pearls. How crosses are formed, envirommental consciousness, the toxicity of Fugu fish to pearls, Betty Sue's personally favorite pearl style, and advice for people when shopping for pearls. [Originally from the LadyLux site at ladylux.com/articles/qa-betty-sue-king-the-pearl-goddess/]