Professional Jeweler Archive: Australian Pearl Producers Look to U.S.

November 2001

Gemstones & Pearls/News

Australian Pearl Producers Look to U.S.

Australian Pearl Centre opens office in New York City to increase education, support and consumption

Jewelers seeking marketing, education and sourcing information about Australian South Sea cultured pearls have a new resource: The Australian Pearl Centre’s new office in the 580 Building on Fifth Avenue in New York City. “Our mission is to be recognized as a worldwide distribution center for the finest South Sea cultivated pearls,” says Carolyn Jacoby, administrative/marketing manager.

The Australian Pearl Centre, headquartered in Sydney, Australia, is supported primarily by Nicholas Paspaley and Paspaley Pearling Co. of Australia and also by smaller producers. The center has another office in Hong Kong, traditionally the biggest market for South Sea cultured pearls from Australia. The New York City office is part of an effort to wean the organization from its dependence on the Far East. “South Sea cultured pearls were once sold mostly at major auctions in Hong Kong,” says Jacoby. “The auction market softened, however, so we looked at new opportunities. At the same time, U.S. consumers have become much more sophisticated and increasingly concerned about quality. South Sea cultured pearls from Australia are meant for consumers who aspire to the finest quality a pearl can be.”

The New York office, headed by Dennis Morton, vice president of American operations for APC, provides educational material for consumers and sales training and promotional material for retailers. “We are dedicated to providing training to support the sale of South Sea cultured pearls in any way possible,” says Lester Erich, merchandising and sales manager.
Adds Jacoby, “We have a sophisticated product that intimidates some retailers. They shouldn’t be intimidated. Anyone who touches these gems can’t help but feel a visceral connection.”

The center also wants to:

  • Tap into the marketing potential of South Sea cultured pearls as bridal jewelry.
  • Change the perception that South Sea cultured pearls are pretentious. “We want jewelers and consumers to understand the ranges of quality and value,” says Jacoby. “While the strand is classic, we want to make South Sea cultured pearls more part of the basic wardrobe by offering pendants or new products such as less-costly triangular-shaped pearls.”

However, the center doesn’t want anyone to forget South Sea cultured pearls are the pinnacle of cultured pearls and will gear its information in that direction.

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

A classic strand of Australian South Sea cultured pearls.

Photo by Australian Pearl Center.

New cultured pearl products from Australia include these large, “triangular” pearls. Their lower cost should attract a new level of consumers.

Photo by Robert Weldon.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications