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Conch pearls: Pink and phenomenal

10 September 2018

By Bernardette Sto. Domingo   

‘Touche’ earrings: Conch pearls, sapphires and peridots

‘Garden’ ring: 20-carat conch pearl centre stone, diamonds and pink sapphires

‘Aurus’ earrings: Conch and Akoya pearls, and diamonds

Tassel necklace: Conch pearls, South Sea pearls and diamonds

‘Toi et Moi’ ring: Conch pearls, pink sapphires and diamonds

‘Satellite’ earrings: Conch pearls, brown diamonds and aquaprase stones

‘Pink Snow’ ring: Conch pearl and diamonds

‘Earth’ earrings: Conch pearls, emeralds and aquamarine stones

‘Underwater’ pendant: Conch pearl, Paraiba tourmalines and diamonds


The colour pink is a clear-cut allusion to things delicate and sweet. In the gemstone universe, only a handful of natural stones come to mind as impeccable illustrations of all that pink stands for – tempered, pure, ultra-feminine – and among them is the highly coveted conch pearl.

With global buyers becoming extremely discerning about products and services that they purchase, gemstone and jewellery traders are faced with the challenge of innovating every so often to stay ahead of the game.

Bertrand Ternat, owner of Conch Pearls Ltd, is bent on meeting this challenge head on by introducing revolutionary changes in the trade. First, he established a colour and flame grading system for conch pearls aimed at facilitating consumer education.

In June this year, the company started issuing certificates for conch pearls. Detailed information including the pearl’s weight, size, colour, shape and the degree of flame are disclosed in the certificate, which in turn helps buyers understand the pearl’s unique characteristics and identify price points depending on product quality.


The colour system classifies conch pearls into multiple colour categories. There are three varieties of pink, namely Sakura, salmon and flamingo. Each category is further divided into various grades in accordance with colour intensity. The degree of flame, on the other hand, is split into five levels.

While conch pearls under all colour categories remain attractive to the market, Chinese clients are partial to flamingo (pink with a touch of red) and Sakura (pink with a hint of white), according to Ternat.

Salmon, which is achieved with a tinge of orange added to pink, is a more personal, intimate choice. US and European markets gravitate towards lighter, more saturated colours, he added.

“This colour classification helps us better understand what clients are looking for,” stated Ternat, adding that the colour system and the certificates provide vast benefits for the trade.

“We are professionalising the business even further. Response from the market has been tremendously positive. The more we use it, the more we encounter people saying ‘I want a Sakura light’ – they know exactly what they want. Having those elements available to them helps them create a budget. It empowers and educates both buyers and clients. We provide them with the tools to do good business,” he continued.

Business prospects

Conch pearls are making significant strides in the gemstone and jewellery sector, owing to the market’s penchant for natural, unique gems.

To further fuel buyers’ passion for pink pearls, Ternat said his company actively participates in international trade exhibitions. “We have been exhibiting in a lot of places so people automatically think of us when they’re looking for conch pearls. I’m positive about the future of the business,” he disclosed.

The company’s biggest clients are from China, Japan and Taiwan. Its buyers range from high jewellers or top brands and major but unbranded jewellers to small, individual jewellers.

“A great deal of buyers have developed an appetite for conch pearls. We offer a wide spectrum of products from low to medium and high end, with various colours, shapes and sizes. We are proud of this because we are able to meet the overall sourcing needs of buyers,” he remarked.


Art direction & Styling: Irene Foo

Styling Assistant: Tingo Ko

Photography: Kim Ham

Make Up: Chi Nip

Hair: Po Lam @ Hair Peace

Model: Sofia T (Liberté)

Wardrobe: N12H

Jewellery: Conch Pearls Ltd