Professional Jeweler Archive: Pearl Press

July 2000

Gemstones & Pearls/News

Pearl Press

Here's how you can benefit from CPIC efforts and media exposure

Pearls remain a hot accessory, thanks in part to extensive exposure in leading consumer magazines. Just flip through Elle’s February issue and you’ll find almost every model wearing spring apparel is strung in pearls. InStyle’s jewelry coverage in April features pearls. And Millionaire, Cigar Aficionado, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Vogue, W and Brides have all recently left readers stranded with words and images accentuating the beauty and variety of pearls.

In addition to print media, television and the silver screen have embraced pearls. The White House chief of staff on “The West Wing” gave his wife a strand of South Sea white cultured pearls to the ooh’s and aah’s of his colleagues. Akoya necklaces are regularly seen on “Will & Grace,” Tahitian black cultured pearls make regular appearances on “Just Shoot Me” and both are popular accessories on “Suddenly Susan.” Other hit programs that love pearls include “Providence,” “Ally McBeal,” “Party of Five,” “Dawson’s Creek” and “Beverly Hills 90210.” South Sea and akoya cultured pearls are seen also in such motion pictures as Hanging Up, The Whole Nine Yards, The Best Man, Erin Brockovich and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.

Hats off to the Cultured Pearl Information Center for its efforts to help keep pearls in the public eye. Over the years, CPIC successfully courted the North American print and film media to consider pearls as accessories or topics of discussion. One-and-the-same as the public relations firm Tele-Press Associates in New York City (which also represents the Japan Pearl Exporters Association, Perles de Tahiti and the South Sea Pearl Consortium), CPIC introduces editors, stylists, costume designers and prop masters to pearl jewelry designers, manufacturers and wholesalers. It also lends pearl jewelry from its $500,000 inventory, not to mention stock photography and printed information about pearls.

Devin Macnow, executive director of CPIC/Tele-Press, says it’s all about keeping abreast of the trends and the news, targeting press information, building relationships with the right media contacts and being persistent. Macnow offers several rules of thumb you can follow to tout your pearl savvy locally:

Know your product. Learn how pearls are cultivated, how to evaluate quality, differences in type and pricing and what’s happening in production, and let the media know you know.

Example: Borsheim’s in Omaha, NE, pitches localized versions of national and international stories. “We dispatched a release about the virus plaguing Japanese akoya production and, within the text, discussed the value of pearls and how to evaluate pearl quality,” says Carolyn Walsh, director of marketing for Borsheim’s. “A nice news article was published, and we were quoted throughout.”

Stay current on what’s hot in the fashion and jewelry industries by reading consumer and trade magazines and attending jewelry trade shows.

Get to know your local media. Macnow recommends contacting the fashion, lifestyle or consumer editors/producers (targeting releases to the appropriate contact) at all local media outlets.

Example: Curt Parker Jewelers, St. Louis, MO, enters many design competitions and has won several, including the American Pearl Co.’s Vision Award. “It’s hard to get into the media in the St. Louis area, but we get excellent coverage regarding our jewelry awards,” says Parker. “Beautiful photography and creative releases at least get a photo box and caption,” says Elizabeth Parker.

Example: Borsheim’s sends a variety of releases throughout the year regarding gift-giving occasions, special events and seasonal trends in fashion and jewelry. “We are involved in a lot of fund-raising events and usually donate a diamond or South Sea cultured pearl piece,” says Walsh. “Besides contributing to our community, this involvement sparks publicity and follow-up sales.”

Keep press releases short, but with an interesting angle. Follow press mailings with a phone call.

Example: “Interesting anecdotes and customer testimonies add color to a press release,” says Walsh, who reminds jewelers to use correct nomenclature. “Also provide visuals whenever possible – disk or CD usually works best.”

The press will come to you if you can act as an expert.

Example: “We’re the only jeweler in the St. Louis area who advertises pearls on a consistent basis,” says Parker. “To distinguish ourselves, we push pearls, offering an incredible selection and aggressively advertising locally and through national co-op ads. We’re known as the Pearl People, so the local press usually contacts us for pearl stories.” The Parkers’ hip and stylish ad campaign – touting that Pretty Girls, Smart Girls, Even Bad Girls Wear Pearls – generates a lot of attention and helps to make Curt Parker Jewelers and pearls synonymous.

– by Deborah Yonick

The top promotion is the front of a postcard touting Curt Parker Jewelers as the source for pearls. Below is an ad from Curt Parker’s “Pretty Girls, Smart Girls, Even Bad Girls Wear Pearls” campaign.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications