No lustre in treated pearls
CUSTOMERS risk paying top dollar for imported pearls that have been treated with chemicals, a WA pearl farmer says.
Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm managing director James Brown is working with two universities to create independent certification for Australian pearls, with hopes the technology will be ready towards the end of next year.
Mr Brown says treating pearls with bleach and dye is a common and accepted practice internationally, but it’s rarely disclosed to customers.
“We want consumers to demand to know if what they’re buying is what they think it is,” he said. “We want people passionate about Australian products saying, ‘I’m not buying unless I get that’.”
At the International Jewellery Fair in Sydney last month, Mr Brown announced plans to bring transparency to the pearl trade, providing reassurance to customers. He hopes it will bring better returns for Australian producers, who are competing with cheaper, treated products.
“If we can’t create more value from these rare, highquality products, what’s the long-term future for Australian pearls?” he said.