April 26, 1999
Whether you're just introducing your customers to South Sea pearls or have long included the wondrous gems among your specialties, the Paspaley Pearls Web site is worth a look. Paspaley, based in Darwin, Australia, was a pioneer in South Sea pearl culture and is known for its fine-quality crops, which it sells at exclusive auctions after each harvest. As the main backer of the South Sea Pearl Consortium, the company is also instrumental in promoting South Sea pearls worldwide.
The Web site offers background and history on the company, as well as profiles of its signature designers and a jewelry catalog, but the information involving harvesting and stringing is even more interesting for American retailers. A "slide show" takes you from the collection of pearl oysters from the ocean bed and through the steps of pearl culture the implantation of nuclei into the oyster, care of oysters while underwater and harvest. Because the process is especially technical at Paspaley's farms, this section is helpful for understanding the steps that go into creating a gem-quality South Sea pearl.
The site itself uses lush photography of Australia's land and waters and the exquisite jewelry made with Paspaley cultured pearls. If you're into the Web's bells and whistles, there are also small movies of fashion shows, pearl auctions and farming activities that require a QuickTime 4 plug-in to play. Also look at the "What's New" section for information on consumer promotions and fun things (a pearl shaped like E.T. and recipes for dishes using pearl meat are included here).
- by Stacey King