The story of the black pearl
With the outbreak of WW II, James Assael, an Italian diamond dealer, left Europe for Cuba. He made a good living supplying the US Army with good quality watches because he could source the diamonds from Switzerland.
At the end of the war, the US Army no longer had the same demand for watches, so Assael found himself with a stockpile of watches. Japan wanted watches, however, had no money, so they bartered with pearls which they had by the thousand.
Eventually, Assael became known as the “pearl king”. He met someone who had purchased an atoll where the Oysters produced black pearls.
This person had tried to sell them but said there was no market. Assael waited a year until some better specimens came along and contacted Harry Winston the famous gemstone dealer.