CIBJO’s 2017 Pearl Commission’s Special Report has highlighted a worrying trend in the way that Pearls are being marketed by some sellers on social media.
According to the report, consumers are being deliberately misled and may be purchasing cultured pearls believing that they are natural; when the only element that is natural is, perhaps, the colour.
Most consumers know the difference between a cultured (or grown) pearl and a natural pearl; however, as CIBJO’s Pearl Commission President, Kenneth Scarratt points out, online marketing is being adapted to position cultured pearls as natural, through the use of disingenuous or completely inaccurate descriptions. As quoted in the Special Report, Scarrett said: “When challenged, the individuals making such incorrect statements admit that what they are referring to is the 'natural colour' of these cultured pearls, rather than their growth origin. However, this hardly excuses the unprofessional marketing tactics being employed.”
Industry challenges such as these will continue to occur and it is only the vigilance of organisations such as CIBJO that provides much-needed insight and protection for both the trade and the consumer.
Commenting on the issue, AnchorCert Group Operations Director, Carla Goodfellow, said: ”This is a really worrying trend, however, it’s encouraging that CIBJO have identified this and are publicising it. This is an issue, not only for ethical pearl suppliers and retailers, but also for the consumer. It is absolutely imperative that consumers have confidence in their purchase and in how precious stones are described. Our Gem Lab have invested in X-Ray and XRF machines to ensure that we can provide accurate analysis of pearls, both cultured and natural. As we are wholly independent, our trade and private customers can rest assured that we have no ulterior motive, no hidden agenda. We’re simply here to report exactly what the stone is.”
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