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  1. #1
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    Post NEED HELP! Sustainable Caribbean Pearls

    Hello Pearl Lovers!
    I am new to this forum and I am hoping that someone on here will be able and willing to help me with some questions. I am trying to figure out a price structure for sustainably cultured Caribbean pearls. I am participating in a group project for a national competition about sustainable aquaculture and energy generation, and my part involves figuring out how to farm and sell pearls from Atlantic Pearl Oysters. I have the culturing part figured out, but I am having a really hard time estimating what our product will be worth since it will be a first of its kind item. The pearls will be produced from oysters that are part of a poly-trophic aquaculture system in the Gulf of Mexico. They will not only produce a pearl product, but will also act as a form of filtration and carbon sequestration. Given the unique nature of this product, what would be a reasonable estimate for pricing? I know that this is not a straight forward question as there are many factors that go into the appraisal of a pearl, but I really just need an estimate that I can use for our business plan. I am aware that Cozumel Pearl Farm sustainably produces pearls from the same species that we are proposing, but I have been unable to reach them or get any information about wholesale prices.

    I would really appreciate any knowledge or guidance that this group could provide!
    Thanks for your time and assistance!
    Sarah

  2. #2
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Hi Sarah,

    What an interesting project; I wish you and your team the best! A very general idea of how pearls are priced depends on the harvest being graded, ie pearls classified into tiers based on size, shape, color, luster, blemishes, nacre thickness. Your pearls, even though they are "the first of their kind" will likely be judged by these characteristics. Most pearls are sold in lots, at auction, gem shows, and via private dealers.

    Right now I can't think of anyone who can give a simple answer as to how to value your pearls. One book that might give you some insight would be PEARL BUYING GUIDE by Renee Newman GG.

    What resource books have you read?
    Pattye


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  3. #3
    Pearlista Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
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    As Pattye says, this sounds very interesting, and she is correct that being the only Caribbean pearls may have no factor in market value, but it could have tourist value. We would all love to see more pearl farms, especially where they can be sustainable. There are too many hypotheticals to guess at a price without having a product. Pearls that are farmed successfully in one environment may not work in another so a pilot crop needs to be a part of your business plan. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    It sounds very interesting, but I have a question.
    How would the farms survive the many damaging hurricanes that pass through the Caribbean?

  5. #5
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert KarinK's Avatar
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    I am thinking that any merchandise is worth what someone will pay. You'd have to build a brand to be able to charge any kind of premium for special circumstances connected to the pearl production. Until then, they are just pearls and sold as such. You can see what 'generic' pearls are sold for to consumers by looking at various online websites. All high-end shops have spent time and money building a brand so you need to figure that in.

    Another way to go about it is to take all the assumed cost of creating one pearl (probably split it up in round, not-round and size). You can probably find numbers for probability of the various shapes coming from an oyster. So you take all the costs pr. pearl, multiply by what you want to make from it and you have your price. That question can then be if anyone will buy at that price - depending on where you land. You may have to adjust the overhead but it can be both up and down.

    Another approach would be to, once you have the production going and have pearls, contact the pearl people who work with/sell special pearls and try to make a deal with them. But they would not be able to tell you what they will pay at this point so for now I recommend a hypothetical price based on the sum of production cost. By setting it up that way you can constantly change the numbers as you gain more information about the cost of production and you will know your total cost.

    I would not expect any producer to be willing to share their wholesale prices but their costs may be different from yours, anyway, so I think you need to make your own budget. Remember to include marketing costs if you want to market as a unique product.

    - Karin

  6. #6
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    Thank you for the replies! The issues that have been raised so far are the same that I am encountering. There are too many unknowns to put a price on the pearls. I have a company in Key West that expressed interest in the project, but haven't heard back from them with any hypothetical numbers. The business plan for this project is extremely complex, as the main function of the structure will be energy generation and fish aquaculture. The pearl oysters are acting as filters and an additional revenue source, but are really a drop in the bucket compared to everything else. I think that I will have to just set my price based on a conservative estimate of wholesale prices for regular Akoya pearls.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the suggestion Pattye, I purchased the Pearl Buying Guide and am waiting for delivery.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    It sounds very interesting, but I have a question.
    How would the farms survive the many damaging hurricanes that pass through the Caribbean?
    The pearl farm will actually be attached to an offshore structure and will be submersible.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattye View Post
    Hi Sarah,

    What an interesting project; I wish you and your team the best! A very general idea of how pearls are priced depends on the harvest being graded, ie pearls classified into tiers based on size, shape, color, luster, blemishes, nacre thickness. Your pearls, even though they are "the first of their kind" will likely be judged by these characteristics. Most pearls are sold in lots, at auction, gem shows, and via private dealers.

    Right now I can't think of anyone who can give a simple answer as to how to value your pearls. One book that might give you some insight would be PEARL BUYING GUIDE by Renee Newman GG.

    What resource books have you read?
    Hi Pattye, I looked into pearls being sold at auction in lots, but I am still having a hard time finding any wholesale pricing information. Since I am not certain exactly what my harvest will look like, lets assume that I have a mixed lot of 7mm pearls that are comparable to Akoyas. Do you have an idea of what a reasonable expectation would be for price on a 500 momme tub of mixed pearls at auction?

  10. #10
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert KarinK's Avatar
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    I don't have the stats but I am thinking you want to have some estimate for how many percentage are round, how many off-round and how many barogue. That will affect the price.

  11. #11
    Co-Founder: Cortez Pearls Senior Guide Member CortezPearls's Avatar
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    Hello there! I might be able to help you since I was part of the "Cortez Pearl" team, the first to ever produce cultured pearls under the Fair Trade Gems (2004) list and of the original group of Sustainable Pearl Farms. Please send me a message
    BTW: HELLO EVERYONE!!!! Missed being an active part of the forum!
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno
    Co-Founder Cortez Pearl Farm
    Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico
    Website: www.perlas.mx
    Douglas McLaurin's Blog
    Sustainable Cortez Pearl Jewelry: www.perlas.mx
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    Your Life evolves in the same way a Pearl grows: with continuous layers of experiences/nacre that add to the Story of your Life on Earth and make you Unique and Beautiful.
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno

  12. #12
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    We've missed you, too, Douglas. Good to hear from you.

  13. #13
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert CathyKeshi's Avatar
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    Douglas, how nice of you to offer help to Ceradee22; I can't think of anyone better suited to lend advice! We miss you too, dear friend
    Cathy

    CathyKeshi

  14. #14
    Co-Founder: Cortez Pearls Senior Guide Member CortezPearls's Avatar
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    It has been "a ride" dear friend. But being locked up due to this pandemic is allowing me to revisit old favorites like this forum that I always recommend
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno
    Co-Founder Cortez Pearl Farm
    Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico
    Website: www.perlas.mx
    Douglas McLaurin's Blog
    Sustainable Cortez Pearl Jewelry: www.perlas.mx
    Follow Me!
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    YouTube
    ]


    Your Life evolves in the same way a Pearl grows: with continuous layers of experiences/nacre that add to the Story of your Life on Earth and make you Unique and Beautiful.
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno

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