New Sea and Land

In 2000, when the inaugural Tahitian Government’s International Tahitian Pearl Trophy Competition was introduced, it attracted 83 international entries from 18 countries, although none were from New Zealand. The 2002 trophy competition, to be held in New York, marks the first time the country has been asked to participate in an international design competition of this magnitude.

Nineteen entrants submitted 25 designs in nine categories, and the dozen winning pieces will now go on to represent New Zealand at the International Pearl Grand Prix Competition in September 2002 during Fashion Week. The New Zealanders will be judged alongside the national winners from 18 other participating countries. “The designs themselves are certainly worth a mention,” says Shirley Went, spokesperson for Eyris Blue Pearl Company, the cultured abalone mabé firm in Christchurch.

Went, who was on the panel of judges, noted that the standard for entries was very high, “and certainly very different from a lot of the designs that you see overseas. Our designers here have a certain signature, a real Pacific flavor.” Martin Coeroli, general manager of GIE Perles De Tahiti, made the same point in his speech during the New Zealand awards presentation.

The winning jewelry designs from the different countries will take part in a touring exhibition that will visit leading jewelry trade fairs and fashion houses around the world. Venues will include Harrods in London, the Jewelers of America trade show in New York, the Vicenza Fair in Italy, Bijorcha in Paris, and The JCK Show in Las Vegas, which will host the first international appearance of the New Zealand winning pieces.

For information on how to enter the North American competition, contact Nicole Pickens, c/o the Cultured Pearl Information Center, 321 E. 53rd St., New York, NY 10022; (212) 688-5580.