‘Power and pearls’

Ratu Jone Maivalili, a partner pearl farmer of the J Hunter Pearls Fiji at work. Picture: SUPPLIED

BORN and cultured in the pristine waters of Savusavu, the J Hunter Pearls have been getting their fair recognition across the globe being worn by women of power. Female Hollywood songstress and movie A-listers such as Scarlett Johansson, Katharine Graham, Zendaya and Katherine Heigl former American first lady Michelle Obama, talkshow host Oprah Winfrey and royal trendsetter Catherine Duchess of Cambridge have a common ground in their taste for what has been termed as “Power and Pearls”. Movies such as “The Crown” featuring actresses such as Claire Foy’s brilliant portrayal of the young Queen Elizabeth II has had a major influence on the recent resurgence of pearls. Pearls have been long associated as a symbol of elegance and good taste; pearls remain this beloved monarch’s personal signature, symbols of her presence and her power. Lately Fiji’s very unique pearls with its peculiar hues have been drawing jewellers around the globe to its shores and one of them is Cristina Lang Assael who met Justin Hunter last week and is an exclusive of the J Hunter Pearls Fiji brand in the USA. Ms Assael inherited Assael in 2011 from her late husband who was known as the South Sea Pearl King Salvador Assael a renowned global trader of rare pearls. The name of the American brand Assael has long been synonymous with pearls of the highest quality.

Fijian pearls for the world stage

THE rare hues of Fiji’s pearls have been attributed to Savusavu’s pristine waters which have been labelled as one of the best for pearl culture. During a recent tour of the Savusavu waters to view the pearl farms Ms Assael said the water was different where the pearls grew. “The oyster shells are more vivid, with a rainbow display, with some of the pearls’ sultry blue and reddish hues glimmering from a nearby tray,” she said. “From pale baby blue to cherry to pale green, she had never seen such colours. “They were intoxicating.” From myriad lustrous, small, and colourful keshi to a small sampling of rounds, Ms Assael saw potential for maximising their beauty and not just the flaw-free ones. After all, it’s the complex colours-cherry, chocolate, burgundy and vibrant blue-of Fijian pearls that make them so unique. “Pearls shouldn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful and accepted,” said Ms Assael “We’re introducing these for the exclusivity to wear such rare and exquisite colours. Fijian pearls are exciting and luxurious to wear as fine jewellery.” Assael is now the only US company to carry J Hunter Fiji pearls, the colours of which rival any rainbow.

Benefits to Fiji Pearls

J Hunter Pearls Fiji Ltd owner Justin Hunter said they had been farming pearls for the past 18 and 16 years in Savusavu and Wailevu, Vanua Levu. “In the next six months two community based farms will be started with assistance of the founders of The Fiji Pearl Association,” said Mr Hunter. “The Fiji Pearl Association was developed to assist and grow the Fiji Pearl Industry via locally owned farms for communities with Integrated Marine Resource Management Plans.” Responding to their latest success with Ms Assael, Mr Hunter said she would be carrying out a massive campaign to introduce our pearls into the finest jewellery retailers in the US. “There is an inexorable link between high quality pearls and a pristine marine environment and through the establishment of these farms we hope to create a culture of resource preservation rather than resource extraction. “Proving financial opportunities for communities engaged in resource preservation. “We see Fiji Pearls as providing a very unique and special relationship with our customers. “Our customers should feel that with every purchase of our pearls they are not just purchasing a very unique and beautiful Fijian Pearl, but that they are investing in our oceans and the long-term health of our planet.”

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