Pearl Plight

Japanese akoya. The number of akoya dealers in the United States apparently has dwindled, according to some Japanese akoya cultured pearl dealers in Tucson, who report that U.S. dealers are quitting the business. Those still in the business seem to be focusing on the top goods—better quality, thicker-nacre, higher-luster akoyas. They believe that positioning themselves in a more stable, higher-income consumer market is the right move. The same is true for Japan's akoya dealers, only more so, notes pearl expert Bo Torrey, editor of the journal Pearl World. Because of the slowdown in the world's economy, and especially the hard-hit Japanese consumer market, sales are very slow and have been for a longer period of time than here in the United States. The Japanese market is the major consumer market for akoya cultured pearls. And the lack of sales has crushed the wholesale market, with r

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