GemNotes

SOUTH SEAS PEARL ADS TO BEGIN THIS YEAR

A new campaign promoting white South Seas pearls begins in earnest this year with lavish color advertisements in upscale magazines such as Departures, the magazine for American Express Platinum Card members; Avenue, a magazine for upscale New Yorkers that is moving into the national market; and such fashion publications as W and Vogue. Ads also will appear in several in-flight publications and in books published by Four Seasons Hotels.

The campaign, developed by Ziccardi & Partners of New York City, is designed to create a lasting upscale image for South Seas pearls and set them apart from other types. The campaign features three ads, each with the tag line “South Sea Pearl – Gem of a Lifetime” and phrases such as “There are mountains and there are the Himalayas” and “There are chapels and there is the Sistine Chapel.”

Evins Communications, which coordinates the campaign, will reinforce the message in a series of seminars for retailers at various locations on the East and West Coasts this year. Gemologist Antoinette Matlins will conduct the seminars, explaining how South Seas pearls are produced, why they are rare and how they can be used more affordably in jewelry.

Also planned is an educational brochure to be sent to consumers by direct mail.

The $2 million to $3 million campaign is sponsored by the South Seas Pearl Consortium, which includes Australian pearl producers, contributions from the Australian government and several major dealers. This budget will be divided among the three major markets: the U.S., Japan and Hong Kong.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT TO SELL ROUGH

Looking for bargain gem rough? Try the U.S. Department of Defense booth at the gem and mineral shows in Tucson, Ariz.

The department’s Defense National Stockpile Center will set up its booth Jan. 31-Feb. 9 at the Pueblo Inn to sell mainly soapstone, beryl ore, synthetic ruby boules and synthetic sapphire and ruby rods. The boules are described as “pear” or “carrot ” shaped and the rods average 6″-8″ in length, all of which makes for excellent cutting grade material. Among the beryls represented are aquamarine, heliodor, morganite and goshenite.

While DNSC has invited dealers to bid on materials in the past, this sale will be open to anyone. DNSC representatives will process orders on the spot.

GIA SPECIALIST TOURS ASIA

Dr. Ilene Reinitz, a specialist in colored diamond research at the Gemological Institute of America, toured Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where she spoke to GIA alumni about colored diamond research, data-base development, laser measurement devices and laboratory spectrometers. She also discussed the identification and durability of fracture filling in diamond, jade and corundum.