The pandemic has been a mixed blessing for the Pearl Jewellery UK market, on the one hand the lock down has given people less opportunity to socialise and to dress up, whereas on the other hand it has given many women more time to spend shopping online, and for some slightly more disposable income to spend on luxuries, perhaps using the budget usually consumed by nights out and holidays?
As an online retailer based in the UK the lockdown has given us a further challenge, how to buy pearls when travel to suppliers is off limits? In normal times we might visit the Hong Kong Jewellery Show, generally held each February, which assembles the worlds largest selection of cultured pearls, with over 1,000 pearl farm suppliers showing their pearls in the Pearl Hall at the Jewellery Show. Sifting through the tons of pearl strands and lose pearls to find the best quality and value items to make Pearl Necklaces or Pearl Earrings takes days.
However last year the Jewellery Show was cancelled, and this year it has been moved to June and it’s still questionable whether it will go ahead or whether we will be able to travel to Hong Kong. At Pearl Jewellery Online we are fortunate that the Hong Kong Show is only a small part of our sourcing activity, and that we have a range of suppliers with whom we have worked for over a decade whom we can trust to supply to our quality standards, even when working remotely. In addition we are fortunate to have a Pearl Expert in Hong Kong, Pierre, who can liaise directly with suppliers and ensure only quality items are shipped. Even so we’ve had to double down on our QC activity when Pearl Jewellery arrives in the UK.
Pearls are a natural item and visual inspection for colour, shape, size, surface imperfections and lustre is a key part of ensuring that only the best quality pearls are made into Pearl Jewellery, it can never become an automated process and requires skill and experience.
The Covid Pandemic may have changed the way that consumers buy their Pearl Jewellery in the UK, and as an online retailer we hope the increased share of Pearl Necklaces, Pearl Earrings and other Pearl Jewellery being purchased online will be maintained, however we also know that once the pandemic recedes and travel restrictions are lifted that our interactions with Pearl Farms in Asia will return to the previous pattern, and hopefully we will also see the Hong Kong Jewellery Show return to its normal February slot, even though it means a return to days of eye testing work and negotiations in the Pearl Hall.