Hong Kong
Pearl traders cite significant buyer turnout at HK auctions
2017/03/16
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Pearl lots on offer at Rio Pearl’s February 2017 auction 

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Buyers take advantage of window seats, which provide natural light, to view Rio Pearl’s auction offerings

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A buyer inspects South Sea pearls at Belpearl’s 5th international Myanmar Pearl Auction in Hong Kong

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South Sea pearls from Myanmar at the Belpearl auction

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South Sea pearls from Myanmar at the Belpearl auction

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Rio Pearl’s fine-quality Tahitian pearl lots

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Golden South Sea pearls at Rio Pearl’s February 2017 auction

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Michael Hajjar, director of auction organiser Belpearl (HK) Ltd

Buyers from major international pearl markets in the US, Europe and Asia flocked to Rio Pearl’s auction held on February 21 and 22 in Hong Kong.

Buyers from major international pearl markets in the US, Europe and Asia flocked to Rio Pearl’s auction held on February 21 and 22 in Hong Kong.

According to Jonathan Cheng, director at Rio Pearl, the 2017 auction saw a “good, diverse turnout.”

“We had a pretty good amount of people that came this time from the US, Tahiti, Europe, all across the Greater China region, Japan and Southeast Asia. We have about 20 companies that came from Myanmar and about 10 Chinese companies,” noted Cheng. “What a lot of the buyers like about our auctions is we have good-quality products both for Tahitian and South Sea pearls, which are all very saleable; there’s not much waste.”

“Another advantage is we have a large office. A lot of our Japanese buyers prefer the window seat where there’s natural light so they can better view the pearls. This is actually a showroom for our jewellery but we renovated it to be able to transform it into an auction house every three months,” he added.

The February sale is Rio Pearl’s fourth auction, following a major auction in September last year.

A total of 623 lots of Myanmar South Sea pearls and Tahitian pearls were offered at Rio Pearl’s auction. The sale featured 245,016 pieces of Myanmar South Sea pearls (295 lots or 72,789 pieces) and Tahitian Pearls (328 lots or 172,227 pieces) with a combined weight of 114,738.37 momme, according to the Hong Kong-based pearl trader.

The two-day auction was held at the Railway Plaza in Tsim Sha Tsui. 

In an interview in June 2016, Rio Pearl revealed that it started farming South Sea pearls in Myanmar a decade ago, and the venture started paying dividends in recent years. “We spent six to seven years on the preliminary work alone and had the first harvest of our pearls five years ago. As we grew in experience, the pearls we harvested last year improved considerably in both lustre and colour,” noted the company.

A broad selection of top-quality golden South Sea pearls from Myanmar, meanwhile, was displayed at the 5th International Myanmar Pearl Auction held in Hong Kong from February 23 to 24.

Michael Hajjar, director of auction organiser Belpearl (HK) Ltd, said majority of the buyers were from Japan and other international markets. 

“The turnout is good. Apart from Japan and other countries, we have more buyers from Myanmar this time. It’s also worth mentioning that we have some new clients from the US, and a few new Europeans as well,” Hajjar said in an interview on the first day of the auction. “We have 210 lots but this could go up to 500 or 600 since there are two more auctions on February 25 (Indonesia) and 26 (Tahiti).”

The first two days of the auction focused on golden South Sea pearls from Myanmar. Belpearl collaborated with Japan’s K. Otsuki Pearl Co Ltd to offer goods from Indonesia for the February 25 sale. “Otsuki decided to showcase their goods for the first time and they’ve entrusted Belpearl to organise an auction for them in Hong Kong,” revealed Hajjar.

Keshi pearls are also making waves in the industry at the moment, the company official added. Hajjar cited “intense interest” in top-quality pearls among Asian buyers, which is expected to fuel growth in the global pearl market going forward. 

“Demand seems to be sustained for high-quality golden pearls and that’s what we are providing. As long as you have top-quality products, which are inherently rare, there will be demand for it so prices are stable,” added Hajjar.

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