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Pearls of Wisdom – Robert Wan

In the world of Tahitian Cultured Pearls, Robert Wan stands alone as the single most important figure in the history of the business. This is a great achievement when one considers there are up to 1000 pearl farms operating through the archipelago that makes up French Polynesia.

Robert Wan has cultivated the largest percentage of the total Tahitian cultured pearl annual harvests by quantity of pearls and value each year since the late 1980’s. Robert has cultivated the greatest quantity of the largest sizes of Tahitian pearls in the country’s history and keeps his finest specimens in the Robert Wan museum located in Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia.

Robert Wan’s principle marketing company Perles de Tahiti,  has run a large three day auction a minimum of four times a year out of Hong Kong since 1998. This auction is open to international pearl wholesalers and jewellery brand houses such as Mikimoto and Tasaki, strictly limited to the pearl trade only.

In the course of the Robert Wan’s Tahitian cultured pearl auction, buyers examine different lots, 100 or so each day over three days, and then place the amount they are willing to pay on a slip of paper with their company name on which is placed by the stipulated auction close each day and the winning bids  are announced shortly afterwards.. In this way Robert Wan’s pearls find their way to the leading jewellers of the world .

Tahitian cultured pearls are spectacular and their natural iridescence, the rainbow play of colours that they reflect is their outstanding virtue along with their lustre and shape, they truly are a world class gem.

Robert Wan commenced life in the Tahitian cultured pearl business in the 1980’s buying a pearl farm from Bill Reid of Broome, Western Australia. Bill Reid had worked with Boris Norman, and had been instrumental in working to improve  Tahitian pearl farmers cultivation techniques and sold his own Tahitian pearl farm to Robert. From humble beginnings and through acquisition of other farms, Robert Wan became the dominant player in the Tahitian pearl industry supplying over half the total output of French Polynesia by the later 1990’s .

Today aged 86, Robert Wan maintains his love and enthusiasm for the pearl business. His son Bruno chairs the family company and Robert remains fully active, the secret he says to his longevity and vitality. The company operates many retail boutiques in Dubai, Qatar, and throughout French Polynesia, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia. The family company, Perles de Tahiti also continues to be the dominant pearl cultivator in French Polynesia .

An extraordinary personality, Robert Wan is a true gentleman and a pioneer and an exceptional, generous entrepreneur, it is a real pleasure to know and work with him.