The pearl tells the story of cultures across the ages. There are tribes whose livelihoods have historically been shaped by pearls, like the Ama who have kept Japan’s centuries-old tradition of free diving for shells, and the Badjao, the sea gypsies who have sailed the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas in search of these gleaming gems.
In its myriad incarnations, the white, the black, and the golden variety, the pearl tells the history of traditions that have endured through time’s relentless forward march—from the first tribes who have coaxed these lustrous gems into vivid life, to the iconic designs of pearl jewellery outlasting fashion’s passing trends.
In the pristine waters of northern Palawan, large Pinctada maxima oysters sleep beneath the waves, awaiting the harvest that will transform the pearls within into stunning jewellery creations by dedicated artisans at Jewelmer Joaillerie.
Setting the gold standard
Prized for their intense colour, bright lustre, and sharp reflection, Jewelmer’s pearls are a product of decades of research and development in Palawan’s untouched shores.
The French-Filipino jewellery brand had initially decided to culture the white pearl variety, yet as they saw that Philippine oysters bore a naturally gold shade, the brand forayed into culturing what is now known as Jewelmer’s iconic gem: the golden South Sea pearl.
It took Jewelmer 10 years to breed their own gold-lipped Pinctada maxima oysters, with the aid of biologists from France, Myanmar, Japan, and the Philippines. Jewelmer has then focused on this opportunity to culture the cream of the crop—highlighting what nature produces if allowed to thrive.
Pearls around the world
Having cultured pearls of a natural colour gold, the brand forayed into making jewellery inspired by the craftsmanship of Place Vendome.
Jewelmer’s South Sea pearls have since attracted a global following. As Jewelmer Joaillerie’s International Sales Manager Franck Ferrari points out, fashion and design trends constantly spring from New York, Paris, Dubai, and major capitals across South America, then trickle down to the rest of the world.
In the middle of each of these mega cities’ highly competitive jewellery scene, Palawan’s golden South Sea pearls are revered as timeless treasures. Over the past decades, owing to its innate quality and the enduring nature of French aesthetics, the golden South Sea pearl has carved a niche in the dynamic fine jewellery industry.
Despite intense global competition, Ferrari is thankful that the golden South Sea pearl “had a story we did not need to create; rather, it was already woven into our DNA.” This growth blossomed at “a time where jewellery houses offered white pearls, diamonds, and coloured gems. What we presented was a unique discovery.”
In the South Americas, meanwhile, golden South Sea pearls have also bedazzled the famed “El Dorado of Gemstones,” a cadre of precious stone aficionados from Peru, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina.
Truth be told, these gems have held their own in a region duly famous for the craftsmanship of Incan goldsmith, intricately carved South American jade and turquoise, as well as the elaborate mosaics of a people with a long history in exquisite jewellery.
The roots of pearl jewellery
In the East, the rarity of the golden pearl’s colour and sheen enhanced by Jewelmer’s French craftsmanship has similarly found a welcoming audience in the jewellery displays of Melbourne and Tokyo.
“Japan is to the pearl what Switzerland is to the watch industry,” says Ferrari. In Japan, white pearls are the gems that dominate the market. Along with Australia, Japan has been producing white South Sea pearls for decades. The French-Filipino brand, however, saw this as an opportunity. “The Japanese market is one of the most educated when it comes to understanding and appreciating the true quality of a pearl,” says Ferrari, for in Japan where pearl farming found its roots, a pearl signifies not only a fashionable gem but a cultural emblem. “It represents the pinnacle of pearl jewellery. Therefore for our brand to be welcomed on that stage is a great honour.”
Whether in Eastern shores where pearls derived their origins or in Western waters where the world’s finest jewellery held sway, Jewelmer Joaillerie’s South Sea pearl remains a symbol of a lasting heritage—the pearl’s grand voyage across countries and centuries of tradition.