Q&A with Jacques Christophe Branellec of Jewelmer
Manila, Philippines. Sept. 27, 2019. Now in its 40th year of operation, Jewelmer, grower of some of the most gorgeous golden pearls in the world, opens up to the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA) about its history, its jewelry, and that stunning store it opened in Palm Beach, Fla., last year. Read on for a deep dive into Jewelmer strategy and culture with Jacques Christophe Branellec, son of founder Jacques Branellec and executive vice president and deputy CEO of the brand.
CPAA: Why did Jewelmer open a store in Palm Beach, Fla.?
Jacques Christophe Branellec: Opening a Jewelmer showroom along Worth Avenue, one of the most esteemed shopping and fashion districts in the world, is a testament to the brand’s success and prestige. Under a bright spotlight, we reintroduce to the international stage the beauty of the South Sea pearl and all that it represents: the innovative creativity of the brand, the vibrant Filipino spirit, and the harmonious relationship with the environment. From a more sentimental perspective, the island of Palm Beach being surrounded by the ocean also brings our customers closer to our pearls, and this is important to us as we are committed to helping our clients appreciate not just the aesthetic value of our products but also the profound story that lies behind each of them.
Jewelmer boutique on Worth Ave. in Palm Beach
CPAA: What has the reception for the store been like?
JCB: Being the first and only store on Worth Avenue offering exquisite South Sea pearls, Jewelmer has been received incredibly well, with our customers expressing great enthusiasm for our collections. The philosophy of the brand, which revolves around balancing luxury and sustainability, is evident in every detail of our pieces, and this is a unique perspective that resonated with our conscientious clients.
CPAA: What opportunities has the store created for the brand?
JCB: Our Worth Avenue store stands as one of Jewelmer’s windows to the world. Through it, we are able to showcase our unique designs and masterpieces to a wider audience. We are delighted for a new set of collectors to discover the rare golden gem and to provide pearl enthusiasts access to our pearl talks that would give them more information about both our story and pearls in general.
Evening falls on Jewelmer's boutique on Worth Ave. in Palm Beach
CPAA: Describe the merchandise assortment in the store.
JCB: The Worth Avenue store carries a collection of our exceptional Jewelmer strands: beautifully matched strands of golden South Sea pearls unlike anything else in the world. Alongside this collection and our classic must-haves, we also display one-of-a-kind pieces that exude the unique fusion of Filipino creativity and French craftsmanship. Included in this display is the C’est La Vie collection, which is defined by pieces featuring golden South Sea pearls interspersed in dramatic swirls of colored gems, forming an unexpected mosaic of geometric harmony.
CPAA: What has the Palm Beach community responded to most in terms of merchandise assortment and styles?
JCB: While our diverse collections all attracted appeal, our long strands with exceptional pearls and items with colored stones certainly stood out.
Jewelmer golden pearl farms in the Philippines
CPAA: Jewelmer celebrates 40 years in business this year. What does that mean for the brand and for fans?
JCB: Now one of the top pearl producers in the world, Jewelmer remains committed to its foundational vision of bringing one of the most beautiful gems to life: the golden South Sea pearl. This goes hand in hand with a fastidious preservation of the marine environment where it comes from and an empowerment of the Filipino communities that bring life and spirit to their surroundings. As we continue to share the golden pearl, we have sought to establish our presence in more countries, in turn creating strong relationships between the brand and our distribution partners who support the brand’s vision.
CPAA: Is there a special 40th anniversary Jewelmer jewelry collection? If so, please describe the designs in it.
JCB: A limited edition of 40 pendants known as the Jardin de La Mer has been handcrafted to represent each of Jewelmer’s illustrious years in existence. Set against a golden underwater garland teeming with life, each luminous South Sea pearl serves as a precious time capsule of beauty and harmony, a delicate reminder of the role each plays in the equilibrium of life.
Children participating in planting trees as part of the Save the Palawan Seas Foundation.
CPAA: How has Mr. Jacques Branellec and Mr. Manuel Cojuangco’s vision for a golden pearl farm affected the Philippines and the greater cultured pearl world?
JCB: Jewelmer not only represents the golden pearl but also the Philippines and the vibrant story of our country. The pearl is a testament to the excellence that Filipinos are capable of achieving when we work together and when we work in harmony with the environment. Imbued with this strong spirit of harmony and community, the golden pearl is a national heritage we impart to generations. Beyond this, our farms have also become centers of collaboration that demonstrate the good that humanity can inspire in and for each other—a legacy grounded in a faith in the human spirit that transcends time and borders.
CPAA: How has the landscape for cultured golden pearls changed since Jewelmer’s inception?
JCB: Forty years ago, the golden pearl category simply did not exist. Golden pearls were so few in the world that you couldn’t market that category. But today, with the development of our techniques in the pearl farms, we have been able to champion the golden pearl to the world, and it has since become very sought after. Pearls still carry the prestige they have accumulated in earlier decades, but they now also lend themselves to a versatility befitting the stylistic diversity of the times. Jewelmer is so much more than a pearl and pearl jewelry brand. Jewelmer is responsible for improving the lives of thousands of individuals in the Philippines through employment opportunities and community projects on islands surrounding farms.
CPAA: Is there one move that the brand takes particular pride in? If so, what is it and why do you consider it a significant achievement?
JCB: In 2006, my father Jacques Branellec and Mr. Manuel Cojuangco established the Save Palawan Seas Foundation, with the goal of providing long-term conservation strategies for Palawan’s marine environment as well as alternative sources of livelihood for its coastal communities. Some of the projects of the foundation include seaweed farming, coral reforestation, tree-planting, and handicraft training activities. We’re grateful that our operations have created a positive ripple effect that extends well beyond the workers of the farms, reaching even the outlying communities.
French-Filipino model and actress Solenn Marie Adea Heussaff-Bolzico in Jewelmer pearls
CPAA: Beyond beautiful pearls, what would you like people to associate with the Jewelmer brand?
JCB: As the pioneer of cultivating golden South Sea pearls, we take pride in being a fully sustainable family enterprise for 40 years now. We have always put priority in taking care of our pearl farms and ensuring that we continuously develop and implement strategies to protect our natural resources and empower Filipino lives in the process.
CPAA: What is a future goal for the brand and why?
JCB: As we build on the legacy started by my father and Mr. Cojuangco, Jewelmer will continue to represent and empower the nation where these pearls are created and to provide livelihood and pride to the people of the Philippines. Jewelmer is driven by a sincere pursuit of beauty and excellence that collaborates with the environment at every step of the way, and we will continue along this path as we aspire for the brand to be recognized as the maison that offers the most exquisite South Sea pearls in the world—as, without question, the best. We will continue to drive forward with the message of sustainable luxury, as we believe that being the best means fostering constant innovation, creativity, and environmental conservation. The culmination of all these values is what Jewelmer is and will always be about.
C'est la Vie bangle from Jewelmer
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Comments on this post (1)
Great job. Pearls are never out-of-fashion! Hora for the GOLDEN PEARLS!
— Leonard D. Prins , PRINS & VOLKHARDT Jewelers Inc