Three questions for Phil BOUASSE
What inspired you to be become interested in pearls and jewellery?
Since childhood, I have always been attracted to the world of oceans. With scuba diving, I discovered another world that fascinated me. You combine this with the taste of drawing, many travels around the world, a scientific interest for the diversity of the world, the fauna and flora and the mineral world. I trained in jewellery and that allowed me to express and live my passion. The pearl, the only gem produced by a living animal, particularly interests me. It is a miracle of nature, also for all the symbols that it contains and its incomparable beauty.
What are the top issues affecting the industry at the moment?
We live in an exciting period of great transformation. Technological developments have profoundly changed practices. Jewellery workshops have integrated digital design and manufacturing, customers have also changed their relationship with brands and creators via the use of smartphones, social networks and other channels. But the biggest challenge is certainly the resource supply and the impact of our industry: issues of traceability, responsible practices, respect for people and the environment. Customers will be more and more demanding. Look what's happening with synthetic diamonds, it seems they attract a lot of millennial for their eco-friendly dimension. Another phenomenon on a global scale is the rise of Asian brands, I think they will surprise us in the years to come.
What is your vision for the pearl and jewellery industry?
I think that the very concept of luxury is changing. It is no longer conceivable to consume products that are not environmentally friendly, that would be manufactured under unfair and unequal conditions. From this point of view, some pearls (especially those produced in the sea) can attract new generations of consumers because they can symbolize the harmonious relationship with Nature. In this time of climate change, they are a valuable indicator of ocean health.