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J.Hunter Pearls’ Move To Value-Add

Fiji’s high-end pearl farming business in Savusavu, has decided to move its pearl jewellery operations back home to enable better value-adding of its products. J. Hunter Pearls Fiji, which adopts
10 Jan 2015 10:39
J.Hunter Pearls’ Move To Value-Add

Fiji’s high-end pearl farming business in Savusavu, has decided to move its pearl jewellery operations back home to enable better value-adding of its products.

J. Hunter Pearls Fiji, which adopts a sustainable aqua farming system, initially farmed the pearls here and exported them to its US operations. There refining and jewellery making was being done.

But last year, the owners decided to move this stage of production to Fiji.

Leanee Hunter, of J. Hunter Pearls, said the ability to move its pearl jewellery operations here places them in a better position to expand and develop their products further.

“This year we will look to further develop our jewellery collections, both our classic J. Hunter collection and our Fiji ‘Casual-Elegance’ collection,” Ms Hunter said.

“We also plan to grow our online presence through social media and our e-boutique.”

J. Hunter Pearls supplies and markets its pearls in European countries like Germany, Switzerland, Austria.

It currently has a partnership with a high-end pearl-specialising jeweller Gellner in Pinache, Germany.

The multiple award-winning business so aptly located in Fiji’s hidden paradise, is continuously adding a cap to its name.

It was announced finalists in the AON 2014 Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards in a category it strongly believes and continues to strive for- Sustainability.

Ms Hunter said: “Our initial nomination was made by resorts in Savusvau that we work closely with and some our Fiji Pearl fans overseas.

“To be able to farm and produce a Fiji
product sustainably is central to our ethos and defines who we are firstly as pearl farmers.

“In order to produce our unique Fiji Pearls it is essential that we have and maintain a pristine marine environment, we also need to work hand in hand with the traditional fishing right owners whom we lease our farm areas.

 

How?

“This is done by providing them employment and assisting them to improve their conditions in the villages they live in,”

“We are extremely proud of these relationships we have with the environment and
local community.

“Our sustainable work practices are all documented in our Environmental Code of Practise (ECOP) which we put together in 2008 and continue to update each year.”

J. Hunter is not new to awards. It won, in the AON Awards in 2007, the Tours catergory.

“We have also won five Exporter of the Year Awards over the last decade with the most recent in 2014 for Fisheries catergory.”

J. Hunter Pearls has come a long way from its very humble beginnings on a remote coastal township in the South Pacific.

And today, it can be found alongside some of the leading luxury jewellery brands worldwide.

 

Beginnings

Justin Hunter returned home to Fiji from the United States to establish J. Hunter Pearls Fiji in 1999 The idea was to produce pearls in beautifully distinctive hues and that were also larger than what was traditionally grown.

Today, despite a small yearly output, the J Hunter Pearl brand has been put – as well as Fiji – on the world pearling map.

The 2014 AON Excellence in Tourism Awards will be held on Febuary 20 at the Sheraton Fiji Resort.

Sun Interview:

What would you say about the importance of the AON Tourism Awards?

The awards are a great time to bring stakeholders in the tourism industry together at all levels. It’s a celebration of obstacles we have overcome and how we continue to grow despite these obstacles. To win an award and be able to showcase the trophy in your business/show room and have it listed on your marketing material is an
extra bonus.

 

How would you describe our tourism industry?

The Fiji Tourism industry plays a big role in the success of J. Hunter Pearls, even though the majority of our pearls are exported to Europe, the 20-30 percent that we keep back in Fiji to sell as loose pearls or pearl jewellery is mainly bought by visitors to our shores looking for something unique and high end that they can take back home as a memento of that special holiday. The industry will continue to grow and we look forward to seeing Fiji marketed more as a luxury and unique destination at a global level in the future.

 

How is J. Hunter Pearls performing currently?

J. Hunter pearls continues to grow and we look forward to another successful year ahead of us.

Pearl farming is definitely not as easy business and we have our fair share of obstacles to overcome but we continue to learn as we grow.

We continue to increase our presence in the high end resort boutiques and last year opened our own J. Hunter boutique at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva which we are very proud of.

We also continue to work with Prouds stores throughout Fiji and are grateful for their support over the years. At the end of the day it’s very rewarding for the J. Hunter team to be able to produce a high end luxury item that is unique as well as Fiji Grown and Fiji Made.

Feedback: rachael.nath@fijisun.com.fj

 

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