Reimagining the pearl: Youthful, bolder and edgier
February 11, 2021

Universally loved and historically ageless – after all, Cleopatra was an aficionado – pearl jewellery nonetheless has been pigeonholed by many as appealing to a more conservative crowd. Think Queen Elizabeth, both number one and number two, Maggie Thatcher and Nancy Reagan. But no longer.

Emboldened by the pearl’s status as the world’s most popular biogenic material – and, therefore, potentially environmentally sustainable gem – visionary jewellery designers and manufacturers are aiming for a younger and more audacious consumer, ready not only to break the pearl’s staid image, but sometimes its form as well.

In many respects pearls are uniquely qualified to intrigue Millennial and Generation Z jewellery consumers. With climate change and global warming raising the issue of environmental sustainability to the top of their agenda, the ability of responsibly cultured pearls to be a renewable resource, and at the same time contribute to the health of the ocean biosphere, provide them with special appeal.

The repositioning of pearl jewellery was the subject of a Jewellery Industry Voices webinar. Entitled “Reimagining the Pearl: Youthful, Bolder and Edgier,” it took place February 11, 2021.

The expert panel that was gathered to discuss the subject included Jennifer Heebner, Executive Director of the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA); Melanie Georgacopoulos, owner and creative director of a London-based jewellery brand of the same name, and head designer of M/G Tasaki, a collaboration with Japan’s Tasaki group; Peggy Grosz, Senior Vice President at New York-headquartered Assael Inc., where she is in change of product development and design; Sean Gilson, a groundbreaking master jeweller with a studio in Connecticut and a workshop in New York, and Patricia Kiley Faber, co-owner of the Aaron Faber Gallery in New York and curator of its contemporary jewellery exhibitions and permanent collections.

The webinar was co-moderated by Edward Johnson and Steven Benson. Gaetano Cavalieri, CIBJO President, will welcomed webinar participants

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