So what’s new to report? The pearl world is starting to get a bit antsy. The September Hong Kong Fair, the world’s largest jewellery trade fair, is right around the corner. Will we hear about the doom and gloom, or could this be a turning point in the industry? I guess we’ll find out in less than a month. Then again, some of the big boys are finding out right now.
Both Paspaley’s APC and Robert Wan are working round the clock, under the table, pushing the South Sea and Tahitian pearl auction pre-sales. What has happened to the market when pearl farmers are chasing buyers, doing what they can to quickly return the system to the way it once was? That or at least to begin operating in a more traditional fashion?
Once upon a time, auctions were restricted to the biggest and best buyers. But some producers got a wee bit greedy and started to let just about anyone in. This, of course, drove prices up and upset the traditional distribution channels. The large processors were suddenly competing with their own customers—ouch! Talk about a kick in the arse.
So how do the growers make amends? How do they get those big buyers back, fat and happy? Hold pre-sales, of course! Invite the big buyers to Hong Kong a month before the real auction, let them bid on the lots they want, and let the rest of the buyers battle each other over the scraps in September. They’re splitting the buyers. That certainly is a lot easier than telling smaller customers their business at the auctions is no longer welcome.
It’s a win-win situation—at least for the growers and the big buyers. The buyers are no longer competing against their customers, and they’ll have goods prepared for the Hong Kong show, where they might be able to turn them over and go back to the growers for more.