Pearls Try to Come Out of Their Shell



Pearls try to come out of their shell
Monday, October 16, 2006

By Vanessa O'Connell, The Wall Street Journal

For pearl lovers, the world is your oyster right now.

From Chanel to Fortunoff and Tiffany, jewelers are rolling out new designs, colors and techniques in an effort to make pearls fashionable again. The moves come as Chinese producers have figured out how to improve the quality of their less-expensive, mass-produced freshwater pearls in recent years. Chinese suppliers are now producing freshwater pearls that have the smooth, round look of pricier saltwater varieties -- as well as pearls in the shape of potatoes, petals and coins.

rest of article at;
Hi Karen,

Isn't it amazing that the author's concluding recommendation is to buy PPBs because their production is now being controlled? If Tahitian and South Sea PPB production is so tightly controlled, how come that every jeweler even in the remotest little town has them but no high grade freshwater cultured pearls particularly in large sizes. Sounds like somebody is getting kick backs to me while I have to pester Jeremy to even let me see some pictures of the new freshadama hama age let alone the boxes for them. Maybe I should start rooting for the big guys, however, I would only do that if they had a product to stand behind, which they don't.

Take note Nick, I am willing to sing your praise if you start tissue activating your maximas. I want to see the product first before singing its praise, though.

Hi Zeide!

That comment was a quote from Heide Harders of Chicago Gem and Jewelry Evaluation Services. She is making a comment based on "now", don't you think? I think the future is in fresh water.
The article I posted was originally in the Wall Street Journal. A friend of mine sent it to me by U.S mail. It was in the week-end edition of Oct.14-15,2006. I found it on-line. I was unable to reproduce the rest of the article because I couldn't find it on-line. I don't have a subscription to the "Wall Street Journal".

The part I wanted to post was a pictorial called "A Pearl Primer".
It was divided in three sections,salt-water,freshwater and "In the Showcase".

I'll give the basic run-down of what the piece said.

Saltwater-Akoya " Aren't considered particularly fashionable now."Prices have stabilized and the cost of a 6.5mm pearl sells now for 40% less than they did in the 90's.

Tahitians-"some gemologists expect prices to rise" but the price is still 1/3 less than it was 10 years ago.

South Sea Costs 1/3 less than a decade ago,iffy investment because of the expected increase in the culture of large high quality fresh water pearls.

The article further stated that the production of good quality fresh water pearls has driven down the cost of all pearls. The type of pearls mentioned were potato,and coin. Apparently pearls paired with gemstones should be a big hit next spring.( which they are already)
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Hi Karen,

I already read the whole article in October. It reminds me strongly of those great predictions that PCs would never be mass market items or that people would not want an actual TV in their houses but rather go to the cinema. The fact is that PCs are mass market items and that people both have TVs in their houses and go to the movies. However, the cinema experience has changed greatly.

The current marine PPB market is very much in a similar situation as the old-style cinema. More and more pearl owners see their marine PPBs disintegrate and either disavow pearls alltogether, get fakes, or inform themselves and buy freshwater cultured ones online. The big losers are the marine PPBs. Of course, there are also freshwater PPBs like coin pearls but those typically have far greater nacre thickness than marine PPBs and are usually used in more fashion oriented pieces that get retired after a few seasons rather than classic strands.