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Commentary: The Business

Pearl Proponents Find Inspiration in the Journey of These Organic Gems

Cultured Pearl Association of America offers free education.

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WHILE THE WORLD is experiencing unprecedented times, many find comfort in what’s familiar. This includes family and friends and occasions that are still being celebrated, albeit at a distance. The international family that is the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA) is aware of the challenges that jewelers are grappling with and knows that our community will not only survive this pandemic but overcome it, innovating and emerging stronger than ever before.

CPAA knows this firsthand because of our own product’s journey to market; it’s constantly under threat, yet we persevere. From hungry crabs and octopuses to tiny parasites swimming in search of a host, oysters must overcome predators aplenty in the oceans. Only then can they grow and thrive and take in the mother-of-pearl bead that will become a gorgeous pearl through a miraculous nacre-secreting process. When pearlers push through difficulties, they are rewarded with beautiful pearls at the end of their farming trials.

Our retailer friends, too, can summon this inner strength. For millennia, jewelry has served as the go-to gift to commemorate special days and rites of passage, and this ages-old tradition is not changing anytime soon. In fact, with all the emotions stirred up by the pandemic, shopping sensitivities may be further heightened to funnel more discretionary income to our category as a means of cementing the importance of life.

Consumers will continue to demonstrate their penchant for our product, be it faceted and glittering or lustrous and understated. Pearls are happy to share case space with all of their industry pals (we’re thinking of you diamonds, rubies, gold and platinum!), and know that CPAA’s growers, dealers, designers and retailers are sending you silent but powerful messages of resilience to power through these challenging times.

Additionally, the CPAA continues to offer its comprehensive, web-based Pearls As One education free of charge. Use the coupon code INSTOREPEARLS to take our internationally peer-reviewed course at pearlsasone.org. Upon finishing, you will become a certified pearl specialist and be able to download a certificate of completion.

A strong tomorrow is coming, and our pearl family knows you have the stamina to persevere.

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Jennifer Heebner (right) is an industry journalist and executive director of the CPAA. Kathy Grenier (left) is CPAA marketing director.

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When Tom Moses decided to close one of the two Moses Jewelers stores in western Pennsylvania, it was time to call in the experts. After reviewing two candidates, Moses, a co-owner of the 72 year-old business, decided to go with Wilkerson. The sale went better than expected. Concerned about running it during the pandemic, Moses says it might have helped the sale. “People wanted to get out, so there was pent-up demand,” he says. “Folks were not traveling so there was disposable income, and we don’t recall a single client commenting to us, feeling uncomfortable. It was busy in here!” And perhaps most importantly, Wilkerson was easy to deal with, he says, and Susan, their personal Wilkerson consultant, was knowledgeable, organized and “really good.” Now, the company can focus on their remaining location — without the hassle of carrying over merchandise that either wouldn’t fit or hadn’t sold. “The decision to hire Wilkerson was a good one,” says Moses.

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