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  • Save Palawan Seas Foundation provides education on conservation and sustainable livelihood practices to the local pearl farming community.
  • Bird's-eye view of pearl farms
  • Pearl farming underwater

Sustainable luxury

As the fluid octagonal outline of its new emblem suggests, Jewelmer is committed to sustaining the harmonious synergy flowing through its golden South Sea pearl farms in the Philippines, while striving to preserve the marine environment and benefit the communities. Hong Kong Jewellery has recently talked with Jacques Christophe Branellec, executive vice president and deputy CEO of the luxury brand, to learn more about its sustainable new universe beyond the celebration of its 40th anniversary this year.

Jewelmer has evolved to be a leading producer of golden South Sea pearls with major farming activities in the Palawan province since 1979. The success is owed to the brand’s natural bond with Mother Nature.

“Our pearl farms are located in Palawan, which is hailed as our country’s last frontier and one of the world’s most pristine environments. For us at Jewelmer, having an affinity with nature is a key factor in producing the rare golden South Sea pearl,” said Branellec.

“Pearls are the only living gems coming from a living organism. It is important to prioritise quality over volume and give emphasis to the natural character of pearls. We have this philosophy that we cannot create the perfect pearl. We can only nurture the environment that will create it. We are humbled by the fact that, in what we do, we have had the opportunity not only to drive the pearl industry forward, but to make a lasting impact in the state of the environment. This enterprise allows us to create a community where man works in harmony with nature,” he added.

Considered as bio-generators, pearl farms help cultivate in the richness of marine life without depleting the surrounding natural resources. In 2006, Jewelmer established the Save Palawan Seas Foundation in a bid to provide long-term conservation strategies for Palawan’s marine environment and alternative resources of livelihood for its coastal communities, through a wide array of activities including seaweed farming, coral reforestation, tree-planting and handicraft training.

“We are grateful that our operations have created a positive ripple effect that extends well beyond the workers of the farms reaching even the outlying communities.”

“If the pearl depends on the environment, the growth of our brand is also brought about by the many communities and partners that have supported us through the years. The golden pearl’s success is the achievement of many people working together to reach one goal,” said Branellec.

In fact, pearl farming, from the birth of the Pinctada Maxima to the emergence of a golden South Sea pearl, involves as many as 377 steps spanning over five years. The process benefits the communities whose livelihood is dependent on the sea to survive.

Jewelmer prides itself upon the golden pearl, the national gem of the Philippines. So do the nation as well as the people. According to Branellec, Jewelmer not only represents golden South Sea pearls, but also the Philippines and the story of the country. “The pearl is a testament to the excellence that the Filipinos are capable of achieving when we work together, and when we work in harmony with the environment. The golden pearl is a tangible heritage we impart to generations,” he said.

Among the largest and most valuable pearls produced today, the Philippines South Sea pearl is particularly one of the most sought-after pearl category in the world as it is known for its rarity, unparallel sizes, naturally warm and golden tones and unique soft lustre by collectors, connoisseurs and fashion-forward aficionados. 

The sustainable and controlled production of quality golden South Sea pearls have effectively kept the market prices on a stably upward trend. “The good quality of the golden pearl has been able to retain its value and this is why it is valuable and important for us to keep the quality and its lustrous colour to be able to produce the best in the world,” Branellec said. “We are confident with the strength of the golden pearl category, due to the continued high demand, stable prices and limited production volume.”

The celebration of 40 years of perseverance and determination in pearl farming, maritime environment preservation and local community care only marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Jewelmer, a sustainable luxury brand who aspires to strengthen its long-term beneficial relationships with the nature, the nation and the people. (Photo courtesy: Jewelmer)

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