Jewelry Industry News Wire

Winners of CPAA’s International Pearl Design Competition Announced

New York City. Feb. 12, 2021. Winners have been announced for the latest edition of the International Pearl Design Competition (IPDC) from the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA).

This competition marks the 11th in its history. Judges included Jean Francois Bibet, workshop and production director at Cartier, and Patricia Faber, co-owner of Aaron Faber Gallery in Manhattan. The pair reviewed 19 live U.S. division finalist pieces (live goods were shown via Zoom from a private location), a group narrowed down from 66 entries total, and 42 entries in the International Division by images.

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Eight winners emerged across seven categories in the U.S. Division, one Popularity award winner surfaced through a vote on the @pearlscpaa’s Instagram account, and 11 items received honorable mentions. Meanwhile, nine winners and four honorable mentions were chosen for the same categories for the International Division save for the Popularity award.

Fifteen total pieces, a mix of winners and honorable mentions, are on display and sale now at the Aaron Faber Gallery in Manhattan. Winners are as follows.

U.S. Winners

President’s Trophy

Matariki Rising Golden South Sea pearl ring by Paul Klecka of Paul Klecka Inspired Design

Matariki Rising Golden South Sea pearl ring by Paul Klecka of Paul Klecka Inspired Design 

Luster Award

Mosaic Tahitian pearl earrings by Samira Sizdahkani of Samira 13 Jewelry

Orient Award

Double Hyacinth Fold freshwater pearl ring by Karin Jacobson Jewelry

Double Hyacinth Fold freshwater pearl ring by Karin Jacobson Jewelry

Visionary Award for Classic Styles Tie!

Freshwater Coin pearl ring by Alishan Halebian of Alishan Jewelry

Freshwater Coin pearl ring by Alishan Halebian of Alishan Jewelry

Giselle South Sea pearl earrings from Rosa Van Parys of Rosa Van Parys Jewelry

Wedding Day Pearls

Winner: Floating White South Sea pearl ring by Mastoloni

Floating White South Sea pearl ring by Mastoloni

Fashion Award Three-Way Tie!

Play Among the Stars freshwater pearl earrings by Lydia Tutunjian of Alishan Jewelry

Play Among the Stars freshwater pearl earrings by Lydia Tutunjian of Alishan Jewelry

Eclisse Tahitian pearl ring by Mastoloni

Eclisse Tahitian pearl ring by Mastoloni

Red Bamboo and Mosaic Tahitian pearl earrings by Silvia Furmanovich

Red Bamboo and Mosaic Tahitian pearl earrings by Silvia Furmanovich

Spotlight Award—Golden South Sea Pearls

Matariki Rising Golden South Sea pearl ring by Paul Klecka of Paul Klecka Inspired Design

Matariki Rising Golden South Sea pearl ring by Paul Klecka of Paul Klecka Inspired Design

Popularity Award (Chosen via Instagram)

Rosa Van Parys of Rosa Van Parys Jewelry for her Giselle South Sea pearl earrings.

Rosa Van Parys of Rosa Van Parys Jewelry for her Giselle South Sea pearl earrings.

U.S. Division Honorable Mentions

  • Glistening Web necklace from Samuel Behnam of Samuel B.
Mardi Gras earrings from Paula Crevoshay of Crevoshay
  • Mardi Gras earrings from Paula Crevoshay of Crevoshay

Diamond and Australian South Sea Mabe pearl earrings by Alexis Mazza of LexiMazz Designs
  • Diamond and Australian South Sea Mabe pearl earrings by Alexis Mazza of LexiMazz Designs

Golden Pearl Flower Garden necklace by Susan Gordon of Susan Gordon Jewelry
Modern Sea of Cortez earrings by Mimi Favre of Mimi Favre Jewelry

Something Blue freshwater pearl earrings by Dilly Kirby of Elizabeth Blair Fine Pearls

Black Lace white freshwater pearl ring by Brenda Smith of Brenda Smith Jewelry

Chain Drop freshwater pearl earrings by Mastoloni
  • Chain Drop freshwater pearl earrings by Mastoloni

Freeform Feather necklace with freshwater pearls by Barbara Heinrich Jewelry
Lydia freshwater pearl ring by Lika Behar of Lika Behar Jewelry

Aubergine Tahitian pearl and purple gold earrings by Adam Neeley
  • Aubergine Tahitian pearl and purple gold earrings by Adam Neeley

International Division Winners

President’s Trophy Tie!

Van Gogh’s Rosebush necklace with 18k yellow gold and freshwater biwa button pearls by Larissa Moraes, designer and president of Larissa Moraes Jewelry, Brazil

Van Gogh’s Rosebush necklace with 18k yellow gold and freshwater biwa button pearls by Larissa Moraes, designer and president of Larissa Moraes Jewelry, Brazil

Lavish Geometric bangle with four 13 mm pink freshwater pearls and 18k rose gold with over six carats of round brilliant diamonds by designer Tanushree Lo, sponsored by C. Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers, India

Luster Award

Gentle Rain necklace with a white pearl and diamonds by Da Ning Zhang, associate professor, Jilin University of Arts, China

Orient Award

Dewdrop necklace in 18k white gold with black rhodium, white South Sea pearls, and a Tahitian pearl by Hanna Korhonen, Hanna K. Design, Finland

Dewdrop necklace in 18k white gold with black rhodium, white South Sea pearls, and a Tahitian pearl by Hanna Korhonen, Hanna K. Design, Finland

Visionary Award for Classic Styles

Sailing Pearl ring in 18k white gold with diamonds and an 8 mm black pearl by W.A. Chamal Jayaratna, founder EON Master Model, Sri Lanka

Sailing Pearl ring in 18k white gold with diamonds and an 8 mm black pearl by W.A. Chamal Jayaratna, founder EON Master Model, Sri Lanka

Wedding Day Pearls Tie!

Dancing Lady Orchids features white, cream, and gold akoya pearls, yellow enamel, citrine, and white and yellow diamonds by Chu Yuen Yu, student at Accademia Italiana, Rome

Dancing Lady Orchids features white, cream, and gold akoya pearls, yellow enamel, citrine, and white and yellow diamonds by Chu Yuen Yu, student at Accademia Italiana, Rome

The Deep Sea necklace with greenish gray Tahitian pearls, black diamonds, and a cushion-cut  ruby, is by Laura Spiniella, founder and creative director at La Spiniella, France.

The Deep Sea necklace with greenish gray Tahitian pearls, black diamonds, and a cushion-cut  ruby, is by Laura Spiniella, founder and creative director at La Spiniella, France.

Fashion Award

Lady Mischievous earrings in 18k rose gold with black rhodium, freshwater pearls, and pink tourmaline by Mika Murai, jewelry designer, Mika Jewellery, Japan

Lady Mischievous earrings in 18k rose gold with black rhodium, freshwater pearls, and pink tourmaline by Mika Murai, jewelry designer, Mika Jewellery, Japan

Spotlight Award—Golden South Sea Pearls

Sunrise earrings with 12 mm golden South Sea pearls, white akoya pearls and yellow and white diamonds by Chu Yuen Yu, Hong Kong, student at Accademia Italiana, Rome

Sunrise earrings with 12 mm golden South Sea pearls, white akoya pearls and yellow and white diamonds by Chu Yuen Yu, Hong Kong, student at Accademia Italiana, Rome

Honorable Mentions for the International Division

The Miti earrings by Lorena Ramos Rabelo, Lure Fine Jewelry Boutique,Brazil
The Golden Rain earrings by Lorena Ramos Rabelo, Lure Fine Jewelry Boutique, Brazil

Tango Walk earrings by Anandan M., sponsored by C. Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers, India

Prayer for the Water Dragon God by Chiaki Miyauchi, director and jewelry designer at Tacara Kyoto, Japan
  • Prayer for the Water Dragon God by Chiaki Miyauchi, director and jewelry designer at Tacara Kyoto, Japan

Jewelry Industry News Wire

Winners from the Platinum Design DNA Awards Are Revealed

New York City. Feb. 12, 2021. Three winning student designers of a new jewelry design competition, created in partnership by PGI USA and Pratt Institute, now have the opportunity to work with New York–based designer Paul Catania, of PCAT Custom, to produce their works.

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A trio of female students in Pratt Institute’s Jewelry Design program took honors in the program, which was designed to introduce young talent to platinum and teach them about its unique qualities. Each student produced an original piece that was judged on originality, creativity, manufacturing viability and engineering, and commercial appeal. Requirements were that the piece could be made exclusively in platinum, with gemstones if desired. Judges included Pratt professors like Russel Jones and Patricia Madeja, among others, as well as industry voices Deirdre Featherstone of Featherstone Designs; Michelle Graff of National Jeweler; Marion Fasel of The Adventurine; Patricia Gumuchian of Gumuchian; Michael Pollak, former CEO and co-founder of Hyde Park Jewelers; and John Carter of Jack Lewis Jewelers, the immediate past president of the American Gem Society.

Finished jewels will be on display at the Pratt Design Show, slated for Spring 2021.

Winning designers are as follows.

First Place winner in the Platinum Design DNA Awards, Celine Dussaud

First Place, Celine Dussaud

Second Place winner in the Platinum Design DNA Awards, Aditi Sabavala

Second Place, Aditi Sabavala

Third Place winner in the Platinum Design DNA Awards, Maria Baquerizo

Third Place, Maria Baquerizo

Click here for more information.


Jewelry Industry News Wire

Italian Exhibition Group Announces 2021 Live Trade Show Plans: Oroarezzo in June and Vicenzaoro in September

Vicenza, Italy. Feb. 9, 2021. Trade fair organizer the Italian Exhibition Group (IEG) has unveiled plans for its live Oroarezzo and Vicenzaoro shows, to occur June 12–15, 2021, and Sept. 10–14, 2021, respectively. Additionally, a digital B2B event dubbed We Are Jewellery will happen on March 23, 2021.

IEG debuts this schedule in light of global vaccination progress throughout the European Union and feedback from customers. Best practices implemented at the September 2020 live edition of the Vicenzaoro International Community Event, the only international jewelry event to take place in 2020 with physical attendance and in total safety, will be implemented.

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The Oroarezzo fair, in Arezzo, Italy, is devoted to the best Made in Italy jewelry, while Vicenzaoro, in Vicenza, Italy, is considered an event of reference for the entire international gold jewelry supply chain, including T.GOLD, the international show for jewelry machinery and technologies, and VOVintage, an exclusive vintage watch and jewelry marketplace. We Are Jewellery, meanwhile, is designed to present new jewelry to remotely linked buyers from all over the world. 
For more information, contact Michela Moneta at michela.moneta@iegexpo.it.

Jewelry Industry News Wire

Treasure Tahitian Pearls Now: The Pandemic Is Posing Tricky Issues for Production

French Polynesia. Feb. 8, 2021. “Buy Tahitian pearls now before they get rarer,” exclaims world-renowned Tahitian pearl grower Robert Wan. He’s referring to how the pandemic has affected his beloved black pearls, grown in French Polynesia, a nation that encompasses more than 121 islands in the South Pacific. Wan has been culturing black pearls in the islands since 1974, but the global pandemic has paved the way for a new circumstance: Chinese grafters who went home for Chinese New Year in late January 2020 have been unable to return because of border lockdowns.

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Wan is not the only Tahitian pearl farmer facing this issue. In 2019, French Polynesia had 358 Tahitian pearl farms, and about 75 percent of grafters on those farms were Chinese nationals. When COVID-19 flared in early 2020 and French Polynesia closed its borders to prevent the spread of the virus, as many as 70 percent of those grafters who went home to China for celebrations were unable to return (and still have not to this date). This predicament roused farmers to take better advantage of local grafter talent and inspired the government to exponentially ramp up existing training efforts of Polynesians.

Eliko Pearl has specialty pearls of all types, including Maki-e mosaic pearls, faceted pearls, and blue akoyas.

“We have been training grafters since 1993 in our pearl farming training center, and many small-scale farms are actually run by them,” explains Clarisse D’Hervilly, who manages the pearl sector of the marine resources department in French Polynesia. “And we are putting new training programs in place for local grafters.”

Tahitian Pearl History

Tahitian pearls grow in a rainbow of colors, from deep green to blue to black and more, in the Pinctada margaritifera pearl-producing oyster. Spanish explorers brought home shell for mother-of-pearl after they sailed to the island nation in the 16th century, though not much is known about the rare naturally occurring Tahitian pearls from that time beyond their presence in the possessions of the royal Tahitian family.

In 1961, French veterinary surgeon Jean-Marie Domard organized the first successful graft with Japanese technicians after convincing the local government to fund efforts. The results revealed an incredible array of colors that had never been seen in the market. According to Pearls As One, the online educational platform from the Cultured Pearl Association of America, Domard directed Japanese technicians to operate “on 5,000 black-lipped mollusks on the atoll of Hikueru and the island of Bora Bora. Four years later, the first cultured Tahitian pearls were harvested.”

Tahitian pearls started earning international recognition in the 1970s when Jean-Claude Brouillet, who purchased the Marutea Sud atoll, and New York businessman Salvador Assael teamed up. They saw the potential of the exotic beauties and enlisted more Japanese grafters to go to French Polynesia to operate—i.e., implant mother-of-pearl beads into the black-lipped shells. When Assael introduced the pearls to the Tiffanys and Cartiers of the world, it didn’t take long for their mysterious beauty to gain appreciation. Today, Tahitian pearls are one of the most sought-after gems in the world, respected and revered for their otherworldly natural colors, which come from the lip of the oyster or mother-of-pearl that they grow in. Their status as a luxurious organic gem coveted by stars, high-end jewelry houses, and consumers around the globe, is firmly in place.

For years, Japanese grafters dominated the pearl-grafting scene in French Polynesia. But in the late 1990s, the number of Chinese grafters in the islands started to mushroom, eventually outnumbering their Japanese counterparts.

Today, farmers produce more than 9 million pearls a year. Along with tourism, Tahitian pearls are one of French Polynesia’s greatest sources of revenue, and its biggest export.

Pearl Possibilities

The lack of grafters in Tahiti and its surrounding islands in 2020, coupled with restricted travel and no trade shows at which to sell stock, has left growers in a pickle. Online pearl auctions have had limited success given that it’s not so easy to inspect pearls through photos and videos. At the moment, dealers and growers have a healthy reserve of pearls (remember that number of 9 million pearls exported annually?), but what happens in 2023–2024 when oysters that were seeded in 2020–2021 need to be harvested? Grafting oysters must occur in order to ensure new pearls down the road, but a two- to three-year production cycle must take place to produce one Tahitian pearl.

“Even if demand is there, if there is no production, you can’t make [pearls] fast,” notes Loïc Wiart, founder and CEO of Poe Black Pearl, who works with 100 different producers in the islands, buying entire lots from 12.

Fewer grafters equals fewer grafts, which leads to fewer pearls. “With 70 percent fewer grafters since last March, you can easily do the math,” says D’Hervilly.

Farmers like Alexander Collins of Collins Pearls, whose farm is in Takaroa in the northeastern part of the Tuamotu archipelago, a 90-minute flight from the main Island of Tahiti, is predicting a dearth of Tahitian pearls starting as early as the end of 2021. Why? Many pearl farmers are currently cash strapped since they couldn’t sell inventory overseas, letting some pearls go at low prices, a point that Wiart recognizes. “Hong Kong [the trade shows] is 60 percent of our sales,” he says.

Peter Bazar, president of Imperial Pearl, which imports a large number of Tahitian pearls for business, is aware of the impending situation. “What they didn’t seed last year will become a supply concern this year or the next,” he observes.

Both D’Hervilly and farmers see the writing on the wall: Tahitian pearls will become even more rare and precious than they are now, causing prices to possibly increase. An impending production quota system from the government, a move to ensure better-quality pearls, will fuel this scenario.

Fred Sagues, owner of Black Market Pearls, agrees. The importer, who travels to and from the islands sourcing (when a pandemic isn’t raging), has been able to buy up more and better pearls of late, which he has had success selling online to a U.S.–based designer clientele. High-quality pearls that retain their value, coupled with a growing demand for products of a sustainable origin, can equal greater cachet for Tahitian pearls. Plus, if production levels decrease in the coming years, “better-quality pearls will be selling at higher prices,” he says.

It’s a prediction that Wan would like to see come true. “We want prices to increase given the scarcity of our products, and above all, to restore their true value.”

Drop earrings in 18k white gold with 8–9 mm Tahitian pearls and 0.30 cts. t.w. diamonds, $3,000; Baggins Pearls, available online at Baggins Pearls

Drop earrings in 18k white gold with 8–9 mm Tahitian pearls and 0.30 cts. t.w. diamonds, $3,000; Baggins Pearls, available online at Baggins Pearls

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