> Special Features
By Christie Dang •
21 December 2018
Japanese pearl jewellers are training their sights on younger consumers
Pearls produced in Japan are known for their premium quality and distinguished image. With an ageing clientele however, Japanese pearl industry players are reaching out to younger consumers to ensure the long-term development of the country’s pearl jewellery sector.
Pearls have always been associated with a noble and elegant temperament. To stir up interest in pearls among young consumers in Japan, the industry – led by the Japan Jewellery Association (JJA) – launched a new marketing campaign titled, “Pearl at 20,” in June this year.
Tota Koyama, chairman of the JJA, said the campaign encourages parents to present pearl jewellery as a gift to their daughters who turn 20 years old.
It’s an important age, according to Koyama, as a girl turning 20 signifies that she is entering a new stage in her life hence a memento from her parents should mark the occasion. The campaign aims to help establish giving pearl jewellery to 20-year-old daughters as a new jewellery tradition in the country.
Koyama added that the symbolic meaning of pearls in the Japanese culture should be upheld. Given Japan’s long-standing jewellery culture, acquiring jewellery has a profound meaning and cultural foundation for Japanese people who pass on their treasures from generation to generation. Therefore, Japanese parents giving pearl jewellery to their daughters signifies love, bonding and blessings. Apart from handing down beloved pearl jewellery pieces to the next generation, customers also purchase new pearl jewellery with fashionable designs for their daughters.
The upcoming Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo in 2020 provides immense business opportunities, with 40 million people expected to visit Japan. Representatives from the association said they hope to ride on this chance by promoting pearl as an iconic product to perfectly represent Japan.
As an integral segment in Japan’s jewellery industry, pearl has a strong foothold and market share worldwide. For many years, Japan has enjoyed a good reputation in all aspects of the pearl industry – from farming, research and technology development, to sales and marketing. Amid the new opportunity, Koyama and his colleagues are confident that the local industry can further strengthen the image of Japanese pearl. “When people think of pearls, they will also think of Japan,” he added.
Industry players likewise remain optimistic about prospects in Japan’s pearl industry, adding that jewellery made with Japanese pearls are well-received globally. In fact, high-end jewellery brands market fine pearl jewellery, as well as fashionable and modern pearl jewellery designs for the mass market.