Pearl prices and demand continue to rise thanks to Asia’s appetite for the gems, designer interest, and the marketability of their one-of-a-kind offerings. Aziz Basalely’s most interesting pearl sale in Tucson wasn’t an oversize peacock-color Tahitian or a white South Sea strand but a pair of 23mm perfectly round mabe pearls in a natural grayish-blue color. Rare and dear (for mabes) at a $5,600 keystone price, the purchase surprised the longtime dealer, who knew this type of expenditure was unusual even for his firm, which specializes in one-of-a-kinds. The last time he saw a comparable sale was three years ago when a 40mm top-quality mabe pearl went to African royalty. “This kind of sale is pretty much unheard of,” he explains. Basalely’s sale speaks to a growing appreciation for pearls and the potential of the category. Pearls are the industry’s smallest niche, about three percent of jewelers’ annual sales, according to industry data, so there’s ample room to grow. And unlike diamonds, which consumers price-shop online, no pearl price list exists for comparisons. Pearls suffer from a reputation as a grandmother’s gem, but that is changing thanks to designer interest and demand for one-off pieces. And though mushrooming sales in Asia are driving prices higher for stateside collectors and typhoons and shuttered growers are affecting prices elsewhere, dealers and retailers devoted to the category say pearls are still poised for continued growth. “A pearl cycle is just getting started,” maintains Fran Mastoloni of Mastoloni Pearls. “The margins are good, they’re different, and you can wear them anywhere because they show confidence without being intimidating.” INCREASING DEMAND & PRICES The market for white South Sea pearls is steady. American designers are buying loose pearls and baroques, while the high end for large sizes is challenged because of recent typhoon- induced shortages in Australia. “Sixteen millimeter and up sizes are hard to find,” notes Gary Tarna of Hanadama. Hence, prices are up about 10 percent but also depend on currency and exchange rates. “The reality is that if the dollar....
Pearl prices and demand continue to rise thanks to Asia’s appetite for the gems, designer interest, and the marketability of their one-of-a-kind offerings. Aziz Basalely’s most interesting pearl sale in Tucson wasn’t an oversize peacock-color Tahitian or a white South Sea strand but a pair of 23mm perfectly round mabe pearls in a natural grayish-blue color. Rare and dear (for mabes) at a $5,600 keystone price, the purchase surprised the longtime dealer, who knew this type of expenditure was unusual even for his firm, which specializes in one-of-a-kinds. The last time he saw a comparable sale was three years ago when a 40mm top-quality mabe pearl went to African royalty. “This kind of sale is pretty much unheard of,” he explains. Basalely’s sale speaks to a growing appreciation for pearls and the potential of the category. Pearls are the industry’s smallest niche, about three percent of jewelers’ annual sales, according to industry data, so there’s ample room to grow. And unlike diamonds, which consumers price-shop online, no pearl price list exists for comparisons. Pearls suffer from a reputation as a grandmother’s gem, but that is changing thanks to designer interest and demand for one-off pieces. And though mushrooming sales in Asia are driving prices higher for stateside collectors and typhoons and shuttered growers are affecting prices elsewhere, dealers and retailers devoted to the category say pearls are still poised for continued growth. “A pearl cycle is just getting started,” maintains Fran Mastoloni of Mastoloni Pearls. “The margins are good, they’re different, and you can wear them anywhere because they show confidence without being intimidating.” INCREASING DEMAND & PRICES The market for white South Sea pearls is steady. American designers are buying loose pearls and baroques, while the high end for large sizes is challenged because of recent typhoon- induced shortages in Australia. “Sixteen millimeter and up sizes are hard to find,” notes Gary Tarna of Hanadama. Hence, prices are up about 10 percent but also depend on currency and exchange rates. “The reality is that if the dollar....

The Boom in Pearls

Posted on April 30, 2018 by Jennifer Heebner

Pearl prices and demand continue to rise thanks to Asia’s appetite for the gems, designer interest, and the marketability of their one-of-a-kind offerings. Aziz Basalely’s most interesting pearl sale in Tucson wasn’t an oversize peacock-color Tahitian or a white South Sea strand but a pair of 23mm perfectly round mabe pearls in a natural grayish-blue color. Rare and dear (for mabes) at a $5,600 keystone price, the purchase surprised the longtime dealer, who knew this type of expenditure was unusual even for his firm, which specializes in one-of-a-kinds. The last time he saw a comparable sale was three years ago when a 40mm top-quality mabe pearl went to African royalty. “This kind of sale is pretty much unheard of,” he explains. Basalely’s sale speaks to a growing appreciation for pearls and the potential of the category. Pearls are the industry’s smallest niche, about three percent of jewelers’ annual sales, according to industry data, so there’s ample room to grow. And unlike diamonds, which consumers price-shop online, no pearl price list exists for comparisons. Pearls suffer from a reputation as a grandmother’s gem, but that is changing thanks to designer interest and demand for one-off pieces. And though mushrooming sales in Asia are driving prices higher for stateside collectors and typhoons and shuttered growers are affecting prices elsewhere, dealers and retailers devoted to the category say pearls are still poised for continued growth. “A pearl cycle is just getting started,” maintains Fran Mastoloni of Mastoloni Pearls. “The margins are good, they’re different, and you can wear them anywhere because they show confidence without being intimidating.” INCREASING DEMAND & PRICES The market for white South Sea pearls is steady. American designers are buying loose pearls and baroques, while the high end for large sizes is challenged because of recent typhoon- induced shortages in Australia. “Sixteen millimeter and up sizes are hard to find,” notes Gary Tarna of Hanadama. Hence, prices are up about 10 percent but also depend on currency and exchange rates. “The reality is that if the dollar....

GemWorld articles are accessible by GemGuide members only. To access our archive of articles and get many other great features and benefits, become a member now!

Become a member