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Pearl auction grows in scale, impact

20 August 2018


Rio Pearl’s latest auction offered a more diverse and meticulously sorted selection of South Sea and Tahitian pearls, with buyers favouring top-quality goods.

Rio Pearl’s auctions have been going from strength to strength in the past few years, with its latest edition held recently in Hong Kong concluding on a positive note.

The Hong Kong-based pearl trader’s 9th auction generated US$8.552 million in total sales, with 448,708 pearls or 94.1 percent of the available goods sold. Buyers were treated to a more diverse product range as the auction was held in partnership with Australian South Sea pearl specialist Ellies Pearling Pty Ltd for the first time.

The Rio Pearl auction offered 893 lots of pearls, consisting of 126,071 South Sea pearls – white South Sea pearls from Australia and golden South Sea pearls from Myanmar and Indonesia – and 350,820 Tahitian pearls.

“Our latest auction featured a host of improvements based on our previous experience and buyer feedback. For starters, we took great pains to better sort the pearls. The Tahitian pearls were sorted meticulously according to the nuances of their colour and lustre, with similar pearls grouped in the same lot to facilitate buyer selection. Our employees also underwent intensive training prior to the auction in order to enhance customer service,” said Rio Pearl Director Jonathan Cheng.

Highlights of the auction were a top-grade 18mm round South Sea pearl, and a premium 20mm button-shaped South Sea pearl, both from Australia. A lot consisting of 194 Tahitian pearls, peacock green in colour and measuring from 11mm to 14mm in diameter, fetched the highest price at the auction. “Such top-quality Tahitian pearls are harder to come by, and the shortage in supply puts an upward pressure on prices. Our three-day auction made available a huge selection of Tahitian pearls, including round, peacock green pearls that were much sought after,” Cheng continued.

The company official is bullish about business prospects. “Pearl farms around the world are seeing a decline in production, and pearls of exceptional colour, lustre and surface quality have become quite rare. Their prices will undoubtedly remain firm this year,” he remarked.

Rio Pearl’s next auction, scheduled for September, will showcase all the South Sea pearls from Ellies Pearling’s summer harvest, as well as choice Tahitian pearls from Rikitea and the Tuamotu Islands.