Tahitian Trade-Off

Results from six major pearl auctions last year-three by Robert Wan in Hong Kong, and three United Pearl Producers Auctions (UPPA) in Tahiti-show prices on Tahitian goods falling. Of 140,597 pearls up for sale at the September Wan auction, 119,750 were purchased. The average price per pearl was $62.72, down from an average of $79.63 per pearl for the 139,390 purchased at the March auction. UPPA posted $43.34 per pearl in February, $42.88 in June, and $34.56 in October. Wan, who controls the majority of the Tahitian pearl market, released figures that show the Japanese buyers on top, with six of the top 10 buyers snapping up roughly 70 percent of the goods. Tasaki-Shinju, one of Japan's pearl leaders, was on top of the pearl pile this past auction and has been second best in two and in the top 10 in five of the last six. Tasaki has 45 retail outlets as well as 16 department store showca

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