Review and Progress

Development and Trend Analysis of Modern Pearl Market  

Di Zhu1 , Wei Wang2
1 Cuixi Academy of Biotechnology, Zhuji, 311800, China
2 Institute of Life Science, Jiyang College of Zhejiang A&F University, Zhuji, 311800, China
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Aquaculture, 2023, Vol. 13, No. 7   doi: 10.5376/ija.2023.13.0007
Received: 15 Aug., 2023    Accepted: 25 Aug., 2023    Published: 05 Sep., 2023
© 2023 BioPublisher Publishing Platform
This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Zhu D., and Wang W., 2023, Development and trend analysis of modern pearl market, International Journal of Aquaculture, 13(7): 1-7 (doi: 10.5376/ija.2023.13.0007)


Pearl is a natural gemstone widely used in jewelry and jewelry production, and its unique luster and texture make it a favorite in the fashion industry. The color, shape and size of pearls are different, so each pearl jewelry is unique. With the increasing demand of consumers for pearls, the pearl market is also developing. However, the pearl market is highly competitive, and brand building and innovation become the key. Market digitization and sustainability have also become important trends in the market. This review introduces the general situation of the current pearl market, explains the development and current situation of the pearl market, analyzes the market competition and trend, and looks forward to the development trend and change of the future market. It puts forward the aspects that the pearl brand needs to pay attention to, including innovation, digitalization, sustainable development and social responsibility, which provides a theoretical basis and feasible suggestions for the better development of the pearl industry and the pearl market.

Pearl market; Brand building; Technological innovation; Sustainable development

Pearls are ancient and mysterious gemstones that possess unique aesthetic value and cultural significance (Murr et al., 2022). Since ancient times, pearls have been regarded as symbols of royalty and nobility, representing wealth and glory. In China, pearls are known as the "treasure of the world" and are one of the five blessings, as well as a collection item for ancient emperors. In Western culture, pearls are seen as symbols of purity and nobility. Moreover, in many religions and cultures, pearls are considered sacred treasures with mystical and spiritual meanings.


Over time, people's understanding and utilization of pearls have continuously evolved and changed. In ancient times, pearls were considered luxury items accessible only to royalty and nobility. However, with the advancement of technology and the development of production techniques, pearls have become more affordable and widespread. Additionally, the application of pearls has expanded beyond traditional jewelry and accessories. They are now used in cosmetics, medical instruments, food, industrial materials, and other fields. As the pearl market continues to thrive, the variety of pearls and the standards for evaluating their quality have also improved. The quality assessment criteria for pearls have become more stringent and scientific, encompassing factors such as luster, surface quality, shape, size, color, and more. These standards significantly impact the value and price of pearls.


In the development of the pearl market, each country and region has its own characteristics and advantages (Nagai, 2013). China is one of the earliest countries to discover and utilize pearls, and its freshwater pearls have maintained a leading position in terms of production volume and quality. Japan, on the other hand, is renowned for its excellent quality saltwater pearls, and its production techniques and jewelry design level are unparalleled. South Pacific countries such as Polynesia and Tuvalu are major sources of black pearls, with their black pearls being hailed as one of the most beautiful gemstones in the world.


With the acceleration of globalization and increasing competition in the pearl market, the production, processing, and sales of pearls have become more complex and diversified. At the same time, consumer demands and preferences for pearls are constantly changing and evolving. Therefore, understanding and researching the development trends and future directions of the pearl market are of great significance to producers, distributors, and consumers in the pearl industry. This review aims to explore the overview, current status, and competitive trends of the pearl market, analyze the opportunities and challenges in the pearl market, and predict the future development direction of the pearl market. It provides a reference and guidance for stakeholders in the pearl industry.


1 Overview of the Pearl Market

1.1 Origin and development of the pearl market

The origin of pearls in the commercial market can be traced back to ancient times when they were considered luxury goods and symbols of nobility. In Europe, pearls symbolized power and status, and many aristocrats and royal members owned a large number of pearl jewelry. In Asia, pearls were also treasured by royalty and nobility, such as in China's Ming and Qing dynasties and Japan's samurai class. The development of the pearl market gradually accelerated after the 19th century, with the increasing pace of globalization and market openness. The scale and scope of the pearl market gradually expanded as a result.


1.2 Pearl varieties and classification

The pearl market encompasses various types of pearls, each with its unique characteristics and value. According to the origin and production method, pearls can be classified into several main varieties, including freshwater pearls, saltwater pearls, and the South Sea pearls (Figure 1). Freshwater pearls are the most common variety and are produced in freshwater lakes and rivers. They come in various colors and shapes and are relatively more affordable in price. Saltwater pearls are produced in the ocean and are more valuable than freshwater pearls. They exhibit a high luster and vibrant colors. The South Sea pearls are produced in the South Pacific region and are known for their larger size and exceptional value. They are among the most expensive pearl varieties.


Figure 1 The main varieties of pearls


1.3 Characteristics and factors influencing the pearl market

Due to the influence of natural environment and human factors, pearl production is characterized by limited supply, unstable quality, and significant price fluctuations (Matuschke and Matin, 2008). The price of pearls is influenced by various factors, including the variety, origin, quality, production costs, and market demand. Generally, South Sea pearls command the highest prices, followed by saltwater pearls, while freshwater pearls are relatively more affordable. The pearl market continues to expand and evolve. Currently, the global annual sales in the pearl market amount to billions of dollars, with the Asian market holding the largest share. According to data from 2019, the global pearl market had sales of approximately 1.82 billion dollars, with the Asian market accounting for around 1.25 billion dollars, representing approximately 68.7% of the global pearl market sales. Asia is one of the major markets for pearl consumption, with countries and regions such as China, Japan, India, and Thailand being important consumers in the pearl market.


1.4 Major participants and market structure of the pearl market

The major participants in the pearl market include producers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. Producers are key players in the pearl market as they are responsible for the cultivation, farming, and harvesting of pearls. Wholesalers, on the other hand, process and sell the pearls acquired from producers, supplying them to retailers and jewelers. Retailers directly cater to consumers, offering a variety of pearl jewelry and products (Wang, 2001, Chinese Gems, 10(2): 172-175). In the pearl market, producers and wholesalers often find themselves in relatively weaker positions, while retailers and jewelers hold more market influence and competitive advantages. They have a greater say in the market and are better positioned to meet consumer demands.


2 Development and Current Status of the Modern Pearl Market

The beauty and mystique of pearls have captivated people for thousands of years. In the modern times, with the continuous progress of globalization and technology, the pearl market is undergoing revolutionary changes.


2.1 Current status and trends of the pearl market

The sales and scale of the global pearl market have been continuously growing over the past few decades, with the Asian market taking the lead. As the market becomes more globalized and consumer preferences evolve, the pearl market is also experiencing ongoing development and transformation (Reddy et al., 2018). From a product perspective, traditional jewelry is no longer the sole focus of the pearl market. Pearls have emerged in more innovative and diversified products, such as pearl watches, pearl eyewear, pearl shoes (Figure 2), and more. From a market perspective, the internationalization and diversification of the pearl market are becoming increasingly evident. Pearl-producing regions and consumer markets are no longer limited to traditional Asian countries but are gradually expanding to regions like Europe and America.


Figure 2 Jimmy Chou pearl shoes


2.2 Supply chain and industry chain of the pearl market

The supply chain and industry chain are essential components of the pearl market. The supply chain includes various stages such as pearl cultivation, processing, and sales, while the industry chain encompasses related supporting industries such as jewelry manufacturing, jewelry design, and jewelry sales (Yang, 2004). The supply chain and industry chain of the pearl market are closely interconnected and mutually influential. With market changes and continuous technological advancements, these chains are constantly being upgraded and improved to meet market demands.


China is one of the world's largest pearl-producing countries, and the pearl industry in China has developed into a complete industry chain. The cultivation, processing, and sales of pearls are well established (Chen and Li, 2007, Fisheries Science & Technology Information, 34(2): 76-78). In terms of production technology, pearl cultivation techniques have become quite mature, with advancements in breeding techniques, environmental control, disease prevention, and other areas. Artificial cultivation techniques for pearls are also continuously evolving, providing more choices for production. For example, pearl nucleation techniques can improve the luster quality of pearls, and optical testing technologies can accurately assess the quality of pearls.


2.3 Consumer demand and consumer behavior in the pearl market

Alongside shifting consumer perspectives and market evolution, consumer demands in the pearl market are constantly evolving. Consumers have increasingly high expectations regarding the quality, color, shape, size, and other aspects of pearls. Additionally, consumers are placing greater importance on brand reputation and quality assurance when choosing pearl products. In recent years, Japanese Akoya pearls (Figure 3) have been particularly popular in the pearl market (Chen, 2021). In terms of consumer behavior, the consumer base in the pearl market is expanding beyond the traditional high-income groups. Furthermore, an increasing number of consumers are also showing a growing interest in the sustainability and environmental impact of pearl products.



Figure 3 Japanese Akoya pearl


The development trends and changes in the pearl market have provided consumers with more choices and opportunities while also presenting more challenges and opportunities for pearl brands. Pearl brands need to continuously innovate and enhance their competitiveness to meet consumer demands and adapt to market changes.


2.4 New varieties and technologies in the pearl market

Traditional pearl varieties include South Sea pearls, Japanese pearls, and Pacific pearls. However, the pearl market has seen the emergence of various new varieties, such as golden pearls, silver pearls, four-leaf clover pearls, and freshwater pearls. The introduction of new varieties not only expands the market's offerings but also brings more possibilities for the development of the pearl market. Additionally, the application of new technologies has brought further opportunities for the advancement of the pearl market. Technologies such as 3D printing of pearls, laser engraving, and setting techniques have provided more flexibility and innovation in pearl processing and design.


2.5 Application fields and innovation trends in the pearl market

With market changes and shifts in consumer attitudes, pearls have found new applications in various fields. In addition to traditional jewelry, pearls are now widely used in fashion, home decor, beauty, and other industries. For example, pearl face masks (Figure 4) and pearl foundation have gained popularity among female consumers in the beauty industry. Furthermore, pearls are also applied in hotel and home decorations to enhance the elegance and texture of spaces (Ky et al., 2017). In terms of innovation trends, the product design and creativity in the pearl market have become more diversified and personalized. Some pearl products are also focusing on sustainability and environmental friendliness in their designs.


Figure 4 Pearl facial mask


3 Competition and Trend of Pearl Market

3.1 Intense market competition

With the development of globalization and digitalization, the competition in the pearl market has become increasingly fierce. In addition to traditional pearl brands, more and more emerging brands and jewelry designers are entering the pearl market, intensifying the competition. Moreover, the number of companies involved in pearl harvesting, processing, and sales is also increasing, further enhancing market competition.


In this competitive landscape, brand building and innovation are key. Pearl brands need to continuously enhance their competitiveness in terms of product quality, design styles, sales channels, and customer service to attract more consumers. Additionally, pearl brands need to focus on marketing and promotion, utilizing online platforms and social media channels to expand their market reach and promote their products.


3.2 Diversification of market trends

The trends in the pearl market are continuously diversifying. In addition to the traditional pearl jewelry market, more and more brands are introducing creative pearl products such as watches, eyewear, shoes, and more, expanding the application areas of pearls (Govindaraj et al., 2019). The introduction of these creative products not only satisfies consumers' demands for novelty and personalization in pearl products but also brings new market opportunities for pearl brands.


Furthermore, there is an increasing focus on the diversity and sustainability of pearls. Pearl brands are starting to pay attention to issues such as the origin, quality, and ecological sustainability of pearls. They are launching various environmentally friendly pearl products to meet consumers' demands for sustainability and environmental friendliness. These environmentally friendly pearl products not only align with the values of modern consumers but also help establish a positive brand image for pearl brands.


3.3 Globalization of market trends

With the accelerated development of globalization, the trends in the pearl market are also moving towards globalization. More and more pearl brands are expanding their markets globally, utilizing online platforms and social media channels to promote their products and services. Additionally, some pearl brands are focusing on localization operations, adjusting their products and marketing strategies according to the demands and characteristics of local markets.


In the context of globalization, the consumers in the pearl market are becoming increasingly diverse. In addition to traditional jewelry consumers, more and more young consumers and male consumers are entering the pearl market, bringing both opportunities and challenges to the market. Pearl brands need to continuously innovate and differentiate themselves to meet the needs of different consumers and adapt to market changes.


3.4 Digitization of market trends

With the accelerated development of digitization, the pearl market is also moving towards digitization. More and more pearl brands are using the internet and digital technologies to expand their markets and strengthen brand building. Online sales and social media marketing have become essential for pearl brands. Through online platforms and social media, pearl brands can rapidly and widely disseminate their brand image and product information, attracting more consumers and fans.


Furthermore, digital technologies provide pearl brands with more opportunities for innovation and differentiation. For example, some pearl brands are utilizing 3D printing technology to create design prototypes for pearl jewelry, improving design efficiency and product quality. Virtual reality technology can provide consumers with a more immersive and intuitive shopping experience, enhancing their desire to purchase and their overall experience. The application of digital technologies will bring more opportunities and challenges to the pearl market. Pearl brands need to continuously explore and apply digital technologies to enhance their competitiveness and meet consumer demands.


3.5 Sustainable development as market trend

Sustainable development in the pearl market has become an important trend. More and more consumers are concerned about the origin, quality, and ecological sustainability of pearls. Pearl brands need to focus on sustainable sourcing and production, introducing environmentally friendly pearl products to meet consumer demands and adapt to market changes. Pearl brands also need to emphasize social responsibility and corporate culture, giving back to society through poverty alleviation, charity, and other means to enhance brand image and social reputation. These sustainable development initiatives not only align with consumer values but also bring sustainable and long-term development opportunities for pearl brands.


The competition and changing trends in the pearl market provide consumers with more choices and opportunities, as well as presenting challenges and opportunities for pearl brands. Pearl brands need to continuously innovate and enhance their competitiveness to meet consumer demands and adapt to market changes. They should also focus on sustainable development and social responsibility, contributing to the sustainable development of the pearl market.


4 Summary and Outlook

In the development of the pearl market, brand building and innovation are the key. Brand building encompasses not only product quality, brand image, and brand culture but also marketing and promotion. In the face of intense market competition, pearl brands need to focus on marketing and promotion, conducting various forms of publicity and promotional activities to enhance brand awareness and reputation. Simultaneously, innovation is also key to the pearl market. With the increasing diversification and personalized demands in the market, pearl brands need to continuously introduce new products and services to meet consumers' needs and adapt to market changes, thereby maintaining market competitiveness and leading position.


Market digitization is also an important trend for the future market. With the application and popularization of digital technology, pearl brands need to explore and adopt digital solutions, conducting multi-channel sales and services both online and offline to enhance sales efficiency and customer satisfaction. Digital technology can also assist pearl brands in conducting market research and consumer insights, gaining a better understanding of consumer demands and market changes, thus enabling the formulation of more precise market strategies and marketing plans.


Sustainable development has also become one of the essential trends for the future market. The pearl market needs to focus on sustainable procurement and production, introducing eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable pearl products to meet consumer demands for sustainability and environmental protection. Sustainable development also includes social responsibility and corporate culture construction. Pearl brands should pay attention to social responsibility and corporate culture development, giving back to society through poverty alleviation, charity, and other means to enhance brand image and social reputation, thereby winning consumers' favor and trust.


The future pearl market will continue to face new opportunities and challenges. Pearl brands need to continuously innovate and enhance their competitiveness, focusing on marketing and promotion, exploring and adopting digital technology, emphasizing sustainable development and social responsibility to contribute to the sustainable development of the pearl market. At the same time, consumers will also enjoy a more diverse and high-quality range of pearl products and services, enhancing consumer choices and satisfaction.


Authors contributions

ZD was the primary writer of the review, responsible for collecting and analyzing relevant literature, and drafting the initial manuscript. WW conceived and supervised the project, providing guidance in the writing of the paper. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.



This review received generous support from the Institute of Life Sciences at Zhejiang A&F University Jiayang College. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Ms. Huang Qikun for her enthusiastic assistance and meticulous review during the writing and revision process.



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