Monday, March 21, 2016

Exceptional Pearls: A Good Business Strategy

Unique, Top Quality Pearls Sell Despite the Economy

London Pearls 17 mm to 20 mm South Sea cultured pearl strand.
London Pearls 17 mm to 20 mm South Sea cultured pearl strand.

Pearls have it all – tradition, selection, uniqueness, beauty, versatility, and rarity coupled with profit margin, turn, and distinction for your market. Leading pearl suppliers at Baselworld describe pearls as the most accessible gem in that they offer great value for the investment, as top quality always sells.
Trends in pearls today are for the unique, different and exceptional, cites Daniel Vecht, London Pearl, which has moved this year from Hall 3 to Hall 2 (2.2, A51). “Customers who have money and want to spend it are looking for items that stand out. Who wants to walk into a dinner party having spent 100,000 U.S. dollars on a pearl strand or jewellery only to find someone else with a similar piece”.
According to Vecht, the demand for unique items is very strong, while sales for mid market basic white necklaces have been slow. “There is currently a massive shortage in larger white necklaces. There is almost no production of really big sizes. Necklaces with 19 mm or 20 mm centre pearls are very scarce on the supply side. When we have one it sells almost immediately,” he says, citing a multi-colour necklace he had with a 19 mm centre that sold within 48 hours. “I expect this trend to continue.”

Investing in the exceptional is a good business strategy to weather the economic crisis, hails Pinella Autore, Australia Pearls (3.1, D41). “We’ve always had the tendency to go for the different and extraordinary, but we made the decision to focus our efforts entirely on exceptional pieces – top qualities, large strands, unusual material – even during a crisis period when many backed off from buying. We feel our choice was the right one. We are quite optimistic. Business for us has been very good.”
If you consider what you would spend on a fine, top quality gemstone, Autore believes customers get the best bang for the buck with exceptional pearls. “They give great value for the investment.”
Alain Boite (3.1, D25) concurs and reports strong business at Baselword for these pieces, with top quality white classic round South Sea strands and large pairs for earrings among his bestsellers. Boite also is featuring some amazing cultured pearls, including fine, large nucleated freshwater pearls from China in luscious natural colours like grape and peach; golden cultured pearls from a new production in Indonesia that are heart-shaped (great for earrings, pendants and rings), mixed colour strands in South Sea and Chinese freshwater pearls, and some spectacular large Baroque pearls, and an impressive pair of Australian white pearls at 22 mm and 27 mm in size. Vecht notes great interest this year in a collection of really fine natural colour green Tahitian pearls he has at the show, as well as some outstanding 19 mm loose Tahitian pearls.

Of course, Boite says that finding the best-of-the-best is no easy task, noting that some of his magnificent strands took a year or more to put together. With that said, Autore cites the second challenge is educating consumers, as well as those in the trade how these exceptional pieces come to market.
“People don’t realise how difficult it is to find and put together something exceptional in pearls,” Autore says. “Lack of knowledge and misinformation is a problem. We partner with our customers to help them relate this information and present pearls in the most effective way. For our good customers, we do bespoke services to make it easy for them to buy and sell pearls.”
For Autore, the pearl origin doesn’t matter much, it’s all about the lustre and quality. From big golden and white pearls to new production of Chinese nucleated pearls in amazing natural colours, “we look for pearls that speak to us.”

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