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CULTURED PEARL INDUSTRY PREDICTS A BRIGHTER FUTURE

 CULTURED PEARL INDUSTRY PREDICTS A BRIGHTER FUTURE
 NEW YORK, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- If the U.S. economy continues to


improve, the cultured pearl industry predicts an upswing in cultured pearl sales heading into the second half of 1992 and the following year.
 According to the Cultured Pearl Association of America, cultured pearl jewelry sales may see an increase of 5 to 10 percent over last year's estimated total of $700 million in the U.S.
 Reasons cited for the upturn in sales will be renewed consumer confidence in the economy and a return to classic fashion trends for the fall season.
 "I think that we hit the bottom during the first quarter of this year," claims Devin Macnow, spokesperson for the industry group. "But as of May 1992, we've noticed a considerable increase in sales reported by jewelry retailers around the country.
 We're very enthusiastic about the fall selling season."
 Cultured pearls, which reached an all time high of almost $900 million in sales during the Reagan Era, experienced a weakening in consumer demand beginning in the fourth quarter of 1989. Macnow blamed the slide, in part, to the economic recession and stiff competition from low priced imitation pearls.
 "While the recession hurt not only cultured pearl jewelry sales, but the entire fine jewelry industry across the board," said Macnow, "part of the blame can be attributed to an increase in costume jewelry sales, as consumers turned to lower priced fashion accessories instead of the more expensive real jewelry."
 -0- 7/21/92
 /CONTACT: Devin Macnow of Tele-Press Associates,Inc., 212-688-5580; or (fax) 212-688-5857/ CO: Cultured Pearl Association of America ST: IN: SU:


SB -- NY085 -- 1429 07/21/92 14:20 EDT
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Date:Jul 21, 1992
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