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Welcome to the New CPAA: Expect Fresh Style and Must-Know Information

This longtime journalist turned CPAA executive director works trade shows and market visits to keep you up to date on what’s current and trending in jewelry design and business.


Happy New Year, friends! I hope your year is off to as great a start as mine. I’d like to christen this blog and my new role with the Cultured Pearl Association of America by first explaining the changes that have already taken place and what you can expect to see moving forward.

As many know, I’ve been—and remain (this CPAA post is part time)—a jewelry journalist, so I approach this position from that of a devotee of storytelling; I understand the power of communication and original content. This is why the strategy to elevate pearls and this organization with my friend and colleague Kathy Grenier lies in clear, consistent, and direct messaging and insights.

Golden pearls from Jewelmer during my visit to their farms in the Philippines

Golden pearls from Jewelmer during my visit to their farms in the Philippines a few years ago

Photo: yours truly

The first step in reinvigorating the CPAA and this website was to create a strong and accurate foundation, which is why you will see current information about the organization, the board, benefactors, and staff under the About CPAA drop-down menu. A current member directory—organized alphabetically by company and by membership level—can be viewed under Membership, along with a refreshed and reinforced list of member benefits. I’m super excited about these, but please know that this list is just a start—the CPAA and its offerings will be constantly evolving in order to remain competitive and, most important, to address members’ needs. Have an idea? Please do share it with me at or with Kathy at A membership is only strong when its members are happy, and we want you to be positively overjoyed by our offerings.

Of course, the CPAA also has a permanent place to promote the Pearls As One course (click here), which is truly the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and accurate pearl education in the market, hands down! PAO was a multi-years-long project and high-dollar investment by the CPAA that is updated in real time as new information becomes available. Already, more than 5,000 individuals have taken the course—many at no cost since so many firms have sponsored students. (Interested in doing so? Please reach out to

Ring with a geode pearl and black diamonds from Little h. Jewelry, one of the most innovative pearl jewelry designers in the market today

Ring with a geode pearl and black diamonds from Little h. Jewelry, one of the most innovative pearl jewelry designers in the market today

Photo: Little h.

CPAA will also continue the International Pearl Design Competition (see it under Initiatives), but with some updates (to debut later this year) to make it even more effective. Plus, we will roll out more fun ideas and innovative ways to raise awareness of pearls in the market that will hopefully lead to more sales in stores. Also critical: social media! We’ve already begun stepping up content on Instagram (follow us on @pearlscpaa), the most important medium everyone should be using today.

The crown jewel on top of all these efforts? Original pearl-specific articles written on a weekly basis. CPAA content will address various aspects of pearls, be it sales (see Kathy’s first post “Nurture Pearl Sales and Watch Them Bloom” in her Currents With Kathy blog), life as a pearl farmer in a soon-to-be unveiled Dispatches From blog about benefactors’ farms, or new pearl jewelry designs here. Of course, since CPAA is a paid-member organization, member profiles are also on the horizon, along with a members-only section and monthly newsletter including business tips, timely insights, links to more pearl articles in the media, as well as access to benefits reserved only for members.

The pristine waters surrounding the Jewelmer pearl farms

The pristine waters surrounding the Jewelmer pearl farms. 

Photo: yours truly

An important caveat about all this content: Journalism is in my DNA, so please know that the content offered by this organization will be written in a journalistic manner—real articles of interest, with a point, that people will read and remember. People will think of pearls and choose them more often when we provide exciting, original, and authentic stories about their origins, the people who farm them, the good their environments do for the world, the jobs that pearl farms create in remote regions of the world, and the incredibly compelling and fresh designs that are being made with them.

Ready for changes? Ready for action? We are. And we hope you’ll join us as active participants on this journey to success with pearls by using the tools provided here to help you thrive.

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