Gemstones & Pearls: Gemology
QUALITY WITH COMPROMISE
Huge demand for pearls has given new meaning to the phrase "the
pearl of great price" - especially South Sea and Tahitian pearls. Here's
what to show customers on a budget
South Sea white and Tahitian black pearls were in such demand in 1997
that some American dealers reported a 50% increase in sales this past holiday
season over the same period of 1996.
But this and similar demand worldwide has made gem and fine qualities
harder to come by. When a jeweler can't find - or a customer can't afford
- the very best, Armand Asher of New York dealer Albert Asher & Co.
- Go for graduated. The "straighter" the strand is required
to be - ranging only from 11mm to 12mm, for instance - the harder it is
to match pearls from limited stock. Recommend that the customer accept
a wider range - 9mm to 14mm, for example.
- Learn to love colors. The green-black ("peacock")
and pink-black colors in Tahitian pearls and white to silver-white colors
in South Sea pearls are still the most popular and, therefore, more costly
and harder to find. Accept a more silver-gray color for black pearls or
off-white for South Sea pearls.
- Shape up. Suggest off-round pearls. Unless they're looking for
something truly unique, however, most customers don't like the drastic
look of baroque shapes.
- Seek surface cleanliness. Luster and lack of blemishes and pock
marks are essential. Unless demanded by the customer's budget, Asher rarely
likes to compromise the beauty of the pearl's surface.
- by Stacey KingCopyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.