Armed with ingenuity and passion for their craft, two women with a visionary spirit are leading the way forward in the pearl jewellery industry.
Earrings from Autore's Timeless Collection
Golden South Sea pearl earrings from Autore's Mediterranean Collection
Orchid pendant by Autore
Pearl jewellery from Yana Nesper's bridal collection
Pearl necklace and bracelet set by Yana Nesper
Pearl pendant by Yana Nesper
Ruby Autore and colleague Vince Caccamo
South Sea pearl ring from the Mediterranean Collection of Autore
Autore's Stars & Galaxies bangle
This article first appeared in the JNA November/ December 2020 issue.
The pearl sector is getting a much-needed upgrade in all aspects of the business, from technological advancements in pearl farming and manufacturing to more progressive jewellery designs.
In the major gemstone and jewellery markets of Australia and Germany, two women are injecting new growth momentum – backed by modern business insights and design philosophies – into their respective pearl jewellery enterprises.
Women and pearls
Ruby Autore, marketing head and international jewellery manager at Australia-based luxury pearl jeweller Autore, developed a predilection for pearls at a young age. In 1991, Ruby’s father, Rosario, founded Autore, which has since evolved into one of the world’s largest South Sea pearl producers.
“It was a natural progression for me,” noted Ruby.
Autore currently operates 10 South Sea pearl farms across Australia and Indonesia. Demand for these ultra-special pearls has risen exponentially over the years, with buyers having a deeper appreciation for the natural gem and how it is grown.
Its jewellery arm meanwhile has consistently produced an expansive range of pearl jewellery – from retail pieces to couture and bespoke creations.
With the company continuously making strides in the global pearl sector, the need to innovate also became more apparent.
Ruby’s Bachelor’s degree in Communications has proven handy in her position as head of marketing of Autore. She was instrumental in developing stronger marketing strategies that encompass multimedia promotions, participation in international fairs and jewellery design awards.
Most recently, Autore won the Best Pearl Design Award for a dragon necklace from its Metropolitan Collection at Couture Las Vegas in 2018.
Ruby’s other role, international jewellery manager, has meanwhile given her an opportunity to launch her own jewellery line.
Earlier this year, the company introduced Autore Moda, which features contemporary South Sea pearl jewellery pieces interspersed with diamonds and white sapphires in trendy designs. The brand also promotes accessible and sustainable luxury.
This is part of the company’s initiative to further widen its reach in the pearl segment, specifically by striking a chord with younger, fashion-savvy women who are looking for versatile pieces that can be worn every day and during evening events.
Germany’s Yana Nesper meanwhile married into the pearl business, so to speak. Her husband, Frank, is at the helm of German pearl trader Heinz Nesper, a family enterprise established in the 1970s.
Yana joined the company and has since made indelible contributions to the business’ continued success. In 2010, she founded her eponymous brand, with the intent of transforming pearl jewellery designs through fashion-forward and trend-defying pieces.
A variety of pearls figures in her collections, from Akoya and South Sea to Tahitian and freshwater, complemented further by diamonds and coloured gemstones in 18-karat gold.
“Pearls are pure and natural. That’s the secret to their allure,” noted Yana. “A pearl is the only jewel produced by a living creature. Their elegance and femininity are rare in the world of jewellery.”
Yana’s predisposition to uniqueness also touches on sustainability, so only pearls produced through ethical and responsible farming make it to her collections. In addition, her brand mainly uses recycled gold.
Eight years into the pearl business, Ruby said the most important lesson she has learned is maintaining strong relationships with customers and colleagues in the trade. As a decades-old enterprise, Autore puts a premium on loyalty across the supply chain. Communication and honesty are also key to ensuring business stability alongside mutual respect and understanding.
Ruby is forging a decisive path in her career as an emerging leader in the modern pearl jewellery trade. Belonging to a younger generation of entrepreneurs, she is partial to continuous education and knowledge expansion in order to share her expertise with others.
Yana, for her part, is guided by authenticity, passion for the craft and teamwork. Her husband scouts for and buys the finest pearls in the market while Yana flexes her creative muscles to develop her avant-garde collections. She is also in charge of marketing initiatives.
Design-wise, Yana’s creations have evolved tremendously, with the designer regularly incorporating an element of multifunctionality into the jewellery pieces.
“Most Yana Nesper pieces can be worn in several ways. I love the surprise in the eyes of our customers when we demonstrate this changeability,” she noted.
Classic combinations of Akoya pearls and yellow gold alongside sophisticated tandems of pearls with diamonds or mother-of-pearl and coloured gemstones constantly attract the attention of buyers seeking originality and exceptionality in their choice of jewellery.
According to Ruby, pearls are historic symbols of fortune, protection, wealth and longevity. Amid a coronavirus-stricken environment, pearls can be viewed as a good luck charm.
She expects buyers to gravitate towards pearl-centric jewellery pieces in on-trend designs.
South Sea pearls, in particular, occupy a significant spot in the gem and jewellery sector, thanks to their unmatched elegance, sustainability and overall appeal. “Today, people are becoming more conscious of buying environment-friendly products, so pearls will continue to thrive in the trade,” she added.
Yana meanwhile pointed to transformability as an emerging design trend in the pearl jewellery segment. Demand for jewellery that can be stacked and layered will remain robust while mismatched jewellery, especially earrings as a symbol of individualism, is also seen to make waves. “Pearls are still in the beginning of a huge revival. Young fashion bloggers and editors are fascinated by pearls. What we need is a more unconventional approach to designing and marketing pearls,” remarked Yana.