Building A New Image For Australian Pearls

Nick Paspaley likes to show off a 20mm white pearl found on one of his pearl farms two years ago. "I've been offered almost a million dollars for this, but I'm keeping it for now," he says, rolling the gem between his fingers. "Look at the luster; the color; this is what makes a magnificent pearl." Paspaley, Australia's largest pearl farmer, says this gem symbolizes how far the country's pearlers have come in a very short time. Virtual contract farmers for large Japanese companies just a decade ago, they now produce what they call the most beautiful, valuable pearls in the world. The Australians believe the time has come to tell the world about their pearls. So they're developing a two-pronged marketing strategy to do just that: They've taken greater control over prices and distribution of their pearls to ensure the trade and consumers won't confuse them with less cos

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