Pearl sales are poised to soar, thanks to new farming technologies that are making the gems less costly and thus more attractive to designers who once shunned them
“You see trends starting with the small Italian firms, and it was not hard to find pearls at that show,” says the partner at the New York City pearl jewelry manufacturer.
Many people in the jewelry industry already know the value that pearls offer. Recent advances in farming methods have given rise to soufflé pearls—large, lustrous nucleus-free freshwaters that are lighter in weight than traditional pearls—as well as bead-nucleated South Sea baroques that are grown with the help of a Japanese firm’s little blue nuclei and are often mistaken for super-sized keshi. Then there are Edison pearls—freshwaters named after the American inventor by Chinese pearler Weijian Zhan—that are round to baroque in shape, and available in white to natural lavender-peach colors with golden to bronze top hues. (The trade also calls these Ming pearls, a sexier name than Edison.) All these varieties have, not surprisingly, led to a greater appreciation of pearls among designers.