The global pearl industry is expected to grow into a $3bn industry by 2010, according to the first industry report on Pearl industry, which was released in Abu Dhabi
Currently, the global pearl farming is a $1.5-bn industry. In value terms, more than 50 per cent of this trade is composed of black pearls. The report was released by International Pearl Revival Committee during their first international pearl convention. The findings of the report were revealed in presence of Industry stalwarts and luminaries by Chairman of the Pearl Revival Committee Khaled Al Sayegh. 'Various socio-economic and political forces are driving the pace of change in the natural pearl industry. The report indicates that in the future, the world wide Pearl industry will see sluggish growth of pearl jewellery sales and also an emergence of new markets,' Khaled said during his speech. The study gives insight on the current size and scale of the value chain, identifying trends that will have an impact on the future, predicting the likely state of the industry by 2010, recommending initiatives, and developing a roadmap for various players given the expected changes in the environment.
Market for pearls
According to the statistics given in the report, recent changes in seawater pearl production have been quite phenomenal. Production volumes of South Sea pearls (SSPs) from the white-lipped pearl oyster Pinctada maxima, were forecast to exceed 2,400 kan, a Japanese unit of mass (or nine tonnes) during 2006. This is a record. It is a stunning 2.6 times more than just six years ago. In spite of this tremendous increase in weight, the value only increased from $217 m in 1999 to an estimated $248m in 2005. This is an increase of only 14 per cent. In terms of Japanese yen, the values remain unchanged at 26bn. As on date, cultured South Sea pearls account for only one per cent of global production of pearls. In terms of value, Australia is the leader, with a market share of almost 50 per cent. Australian pearls are also on top when we talk quality and size and, consequently, unit price. Indonesia comes first when we talk about the number of oysters operated, the number of pearls produced, and their weight, which exceeds this year the 1,000 kan mark. The white SSP, in the context of the total seawater pearl production, has further expanded its 'market share' and stands now at almost 50 per cent. In spite of the tremendous increase in the production weight of white SSPs, the global seawater pearl market has not expanded in value during the past six years. It hovers around the $500m mark.