The pearl industry worldwide expects a continued resurgence of cultured pearls during the latter part of the year, says Armand Asher of Albert Asher South Sea Pearl Inc., New York, the newly elected president of the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA). In other words: More pearls at a good price. “This is based on an unexpected increase in market activity during the typically slower end-of-the-spring/summer season,” says Asher. “The strongest contributing factor has been the increase in availability of most varieties of cultured pearls.”
Those varieties include South Sea, Tahitian, and freshwater pearls but not akoyas, Asher says. He notes that at the recent JCK and JA shows, many designers used non-classical pearls in their new designs. “This is supported by consumer-buying trends that have shown a preference for off-round and baroque-shaped pearls, especially in earrings and bracelets,” he says. These spending patterns also seem to favor a mix of colored stones and pearls in many jewelry pieces, but especially in the long (i.e., other than choker length) cultured pearl necklaces.