Have you ever wondered what happens at a pearl auction?
We asked Tim Jones, the Pearl wholesale Manager of Atlas Pearls and Perfumes to give us an insight into the exciting world of 15th Atlas Pearls and Perfumes Auction, Kobe, Japan.
Here is his account of their most recent Pearl auction:
The 15th Atlas Pearls and Perfumes auction took place in Kobe, Japan on the 11th and 12th December.
Atlas has been hosting four auctions a year in Japan now with increasing success over the past three years.
Kobe is the town of choice for two reasons: firstly, it is the traditional pearl wholesaling capital of the world, where most of the world’s largest wholesalers of South Sea pearls reside; secondly, we receive fantastic support from the Japanese Pearl Exporters’ Association, who encourage us to host our auctions there. The auction room at The Japan Pearl Center is a wonderful venue. It provides perfect natural lighting for the discerning buyer, has onsite security and as a bonded facility, allows us to import the pearls without paying the Import Duty.
On this occasion we presented 83 lots in total, 70 of which sold, with 13 failing to achieve reserve rice. The lots are finely graded for consistency of shape, quality and colour. They may vary in quantity, from a single pearl (exceptional quality 16 mmplus in size), to 10,000 plus pieces (Low Grade). Normally 40 – 50 companies attend over the course of the two-day auction. Most of the companies are Japanese, but we also have attendees from Europe, Australia, Hong Kong and Thailand on occasion.
Each company may inspect one lot at a time, which they collect from the front of the hall. After inspection the pearl lot is returned to the front table, check-weighed and then another lot taken.
Bidding is done silently and generally we don’t disclose the reserve price. The beauty of pearls is their subjectivity and we are often delighted with bids that may come in at double our invisiblereserve price. Of course this may conversely work the other way in a falling market!
Although Atlas can produce exceptional pieces over 20 mm in size on occasion. The round pearl shown above, generally the Company specialises in producing pearls averaging 10 or 11 mm in size. The focus is very much upon producing white, lustrous, clean complexion South Sea pearls over the size.
The next auction is being planned for April, although we shall be selling privately in Hong Kong just before the AsiaWorld Expo in the first week of March.
This article was written by Tim Jones, Wholesale Manager of Atlas Pearls.
Follow their journey at http://www.atlaspearl.com/