Pearls Blast Off

Pearls have been selling strongly for several years, with more pearls and greater selection than ever before, and it doesn't look as if the boom will let up anytime soon. To paraphrase Armand Asher, if Iridesse can open 16 pearls-only stores, what are you waiting for?Asher, of Albert Asher Pearls in New York, speaks well of Iridesse, Tiffany & Co.'s stand-alone pearl retailer. “If they're taking that kind of risk,” he said recently to an audience of retailers, “maybe now is the time for you to go for it.” If U.S. retailers do go for it, here's what they can expect in the coming year.South Seas whitesLarge, round, white South Seas bead-nucleated cultured pearls—the classics—come from Australia, Indonesia, and Burma, but Asher says the top qualities in anything 14 mm and up will most likely be Australian. Production continues to improve, so numbers should remain steady, and

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