Pearls Are No. 8 and Here’s Why That’s Great
East Providence, R.I. March 9, 2020. Recently, Instore magazine published results from a survey sent to 800-plus retailers across the U.S. in an attempt to predict the next jewelry trends for 2020. My interest was immediately piqued; would pearls make the cut? I opened and began scrolling through: No. 1 was lab-created diamonds, No. 2 was yellow gold, and when I got to No. 8, I cheered because it was pearls.
Clearly, I love pearls (I’m the marketing director for this association and the director of business development for Imperial Pearl), and I want others to love them, too—even if only because of the potential revenue they could generate, which, by the way is a valid reason to appreciate them!
Then one of the salesmen I work with happened to call me. I blurted out what I had just read and why I was so excited. He said, “Kathy, write this down, you need to share it, the team needs to hear this.” I did, and now I want to share this with everyone in the pearl community.
If this pearl point is news to you, know that it can help you make critical changes that can positively affect sales, income, and profit in your store. So, here’s why being No. 8 matters so much and why jewelers should care.
First and likely most important, these are your peers telling you pearls are in the top 10 potential trends for 2020. Peer-to-peer recommendations are the most powerful and respected opinions anyone can hear. In fact, there are clubs of likeminded noncompetitive jewelers who regularly meet to discuss this topic—what category they should be adding to inventory, which ones they should expand, and who are the key suppliers. And here is Instore surveying nearly 1,000 of them! That’s reason to pay close attention to results.
Earrings from Imperial Pearl
An Abandoned Category
I cannot deny that I do hear the comment “I don’t sell pearls” in many stores. Sure, there are jewelers whose business model does not make sense with pearls in it; that’s fine, but I’m not referring to that group. I want to speak to the jeweler who has completely abandoned pearls in their showcase. You know who you are. You have maybe two or three strands, a couple of stud earrings, and maybe a few bracelets located in the same stale showcase for years and haven’t ever introduced new styles to freshen up the selection. Would you let this happen in your diamond department? I bet the answer is no.
Listen to your peers: pearls have been and continue to be a growing category. Need help in deciding what to stock? Reach out to any of the amazing CPAA members whose only business is pearls and they can help guide you. Need education? The CPAA can help you there, too, with its proprietary Pearls as One course online. Take it for free at pearlsasone.org with the coupon code TAHITIFREE.
Ring from Imperial Pearl
With a history rich in tradition, rarity, science, and design, there is so much for people to discover about this quietly alluring gem. Pearls deliver on meaningful jewelry experiences and “What’s next” because they grow and thrive in pristine water conditions; support communities in remote regions of the world; and from spat to harvest serve as the perfect story of mystery, suspense, drama, passion, adversity, and triumph. Pearls are a sustainable product and business with an authentic backstory not created by an agency but in the real world. Pearls lack the bling factor ever-present in diamonds, and there are many consumers who seek out pearls’ subtlety. Let pearls amaze your clients through their illustrious past, intrigue today’s shoppers with their exciting present day, and poise you, the store owner, for a healthy and fashionable future.
Profits & Margins
Pearls are not easily price shopped; no price list or Rap sheet exists for scrutinizing pearls or their prices. Plus, with so many varieties—from Chinese freshwater pearls to conch pearls (some are rarer than others, with price points to match)—there is a pearl for every taste and budget. This is the category that will expand your customer reach and bottom line. Listen to your peers and look at pearls with a new, fresh perspective—a lot has happened! Blue akoyas? Yes! Pearls featuring micro-mosaics? You bet! Set yourself apart from your competition and become a leader in or a destination for pearls. Current research shows that women continue to warm up to the color category, and pearls are a big part of that niche. The gem with the oldest, most storied past is the gem for today.
Photo by Jack Deutsch for CPAA. Clothing stylist Amit Gajwani. Hair and makeup by Bob Huitron of Art & Style NYC. Model Ella Petrushko for Next. Images are copyright protected and may not be reproduced.
On ears: Lola ear cuff in 18k yellow gold with black enamel and diamonds, Melissa Kaye, 917-573-0388, melissakayejewelry.com; Martini earrings in 18k yellow gold with golden South Sea pearls and diamonds, Baggins, 213-624-2277, bagginspearls.com
On neck: Tahitian pearl drop pendant necklace in 18k yellow gold, Elizabeth Blair Fine Pearls, 231-526-7500; elizabethblair.com; Lola linked necklace in 18k yellow gold and white enamel, melissakayejewelry.com; Curb chain in 14k yellow gold, Midas Chain, 201-244-1150, midaschain.com; station chain in silver with black rhodium, model’s own; mother-of-pearl disc with a golden South Sea pearl, Jewelmer, 561-701-0613, jewelmer.com; double necklace in 18k yellow gold with Tahitian pearls, black diamonds, and gold beads, bagginspearls.com; long necklace in 18k white gold with black rhodium, black diamonds, and golden South Sea pearls, Tara Pearls, 212-575-8191, tarapearls.com
On hands: Circle Pearl ring in 18k yellow gold with yellow beryl, tsavorites, diamonds, and a golden South Sea pearl, Brenda Smith Jewelry, 770-337-6399, brendasmithjewelry.com; double pearl ring in 18k yellow gold with golden South Sea pearls and diamonds, Mastoloni, 212-757-7278, mastoloni.com; signet ring in 14k yellow gold with opal and diamonds, Wwake, 774-573-1027, wwake.com
On wrist: link bracelets in 22k gold with enamel and diamonds, Buddha Mama, 786-306-7840, buddhamama.com; bangles in 22k gold, Lika Behar, 201-933-7200; likabehar.com; necklace wrapped as bracelet in 18k yellow gold with white South Sea baroque pearls and beads, elizabethblair.com
This is proprietary CPAA content and may not be duplicated.
Comments on this post (4)
Pearls are classic, traditional, iconic beauty. I always think of Jackie Kennedy when I see pearls. She was the classiest woman whose image has lasted so long and she made pearls ever lasting. Pearls can dress up any outfit. I wear black and white and they go with anything. I Love my pearls. Plus it is my birthstone!
— Sandi Smith
Very interesting information.-
— Sofia Wagman
Kathy, I so appreciate your perspective and this realistic market report. Pearls are an extraordinary category with so much more potential to grow. Always grateful for the work you and Jen do at the CPAA. Hang tough. We will get through this. Beautifully… and no doubt adorned with pearls.
— Lee Wiser McIntosh
As an industry, we are too closed up in our own world! The fashion industry has declared pearls to be a force in fashion… the #1 accessory of the coming year. As history has taught us, pearls are never a ‘trend’. When they peak, it lasts a couple of decades. I think more consumers are tied in with fashion (Vogue, WSJ. Bazaar, Financial Times of London ‘How To Spend It’, Forbes, etc, etc) than our trade forecasts, so we are doing ourselves an injustice to make pearls #8!
— Peggy Grosz