Benefactors of the Cultured Pearl Association of America, Inc., are the world’s largest pearl growers and the CPAA's biggest supporters. The benefactors, whose companies are outlined below, are responsible for producing the bulk of the world’s supply of natural cultured pearls, and know that the United States is a critically important market and destination for their product. This is why the benefactors financially support the U.S.-based CPAA’s activities and efforts to promote pearls; the benefactors know that a healthy pearl jewelry market starts with nurturing one of the biggest pearl-loving nations in the world. Learn more about the day-to-day lives of our benefactors, the exotic locations all over the globe where their pearls are grown, the individuals who actually grow the pearls, the unique obstacles they face as a result of their locales, and exactly what it takes to bring beautiful, healthy pearls to market. Follow them on Instagram (where applicable) through their handles outlined below, and stay tuned for a soon-to-be-released blog about benefactors' lives as pearl farmers.
Twenty-year-old Atlas South Sea pearls are harvested from five pearl farms located in Indonesia. With a seasoned group of executives, a listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (headquarters are in Perth, Western Australia), and ongoing support of cultural and artistic endeavors in Australia and abroad, Atlas’ aim is to propel its silver and white South Sea pearls to a top position in the luxury world. Corporate governance policies and annual reports aid its international professionalism, but the beauty of its product is the result of careful culturing practices that yield healthy pearls.
Hong Kong Pearl Association (No social media presence at this time.)
The HKPA is a 16-year-old consortium of pearl companies that operate in Hong Kong and China to safeguard the Chinese freshwater pearl industry. With about 80 current members, the organization exists to guide, inform, and protect Chinese pearlers who grow mainly freshwater pearls in order to ensure stable production, social responsibility, and a long and prosperous future. Also of importance to the HKPA: adherence to laws that protect pearls and their environments, the fraternal cooperation of member firms, improved technology and scientific management of pearl harvests, and a competitive Chinese freshwater pearl market overall.
Fijian native Justin Hunter returned home from the U.S. in 1999 to establish J. Hunter Pearls Fiji with his wife, Leanne. Together, they work closely with local communities on Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island, to produce prized and colorful South Sea pearls. By paying annual leases to traditional fishing rights owners where the company’s two pearl farms are located—in Savusavu and Kioa—the small company provides much-needed jobs for locals, scholarships to deserving students, and exotic hues of pearls for the world to enjoy.
Japan Pearl Exporters Association (No social media presence at this time.)
The JPEA comprises dozens of pearl growers located throughout the pearl-producing regions of Japan. Japanese pearl farmers are known for growing largely akoya pearls, a variety produced by the Pinctada fucata martensii or akoya oyster. Akoya pearls are widely known in the trade as the “Cadillac of pearls” for their intense luster, and they represent the iconic white strand that many women have made a staple in jewelry collections worldwide.
Established in 1979 by a French pearl farmer and a Filipino entrepreneur, Jewelmer specializes in golden pearls—the rarest color of South Sea pearl found in the wild. After years of developing a proprietary means of growing the golden-lipped variety of the Pinctada maxima oysters in the Philippines, the company has become as renowned for its pearls as it is for its philanthropy. Jewelmer created the Save the Palawan Seas Foundation to foster sustainable means of employment like organic farming in the remote island communities adjacent to Jewelmer farms, allowing locals to make a living while also preserving their natural resources.
Tahitian Pearl Association of French Polynesia (no website)
on Facebook at @TPAFP
The TPAFP is a government-subsidized organization that aims to help educate professionals and the general public about Tahitian cultured pearls. Members of the TPAFP are pearl growers located throughout Tahiti and the French Polynesian islands. These farmers of Tahitian pearls, grown inside the black- and silver-lipped oysters of the Pinctada margaritifera variety, work in beautiful but isolated surroundings far away from the comforts of cities for long periods of time in order to bring peacock-color pearls to markets all over the world.
The pearling family of Paspaley created its business off the shores of Australia’s Kimberley Coast in the 1930s. The prized Australian South Sea pearl, born from the silver-lipped Pinctada maxima oyster, thrives only in a tiny area of the Indian Ocean and Arafura Sea in warm, plankton-rich waters. The history of the Paspaley family and its passion for large white South Sea pearls is rich in adventure, passion, and hard work. And thanks to help from Japanese pearlers in the 1950s, Paspaley successfully developed techniques that boosted the quality of its pearls, paving the way for astonishing harvests in the years since.