In the dynamic world of pearls, Devino strides through its journey that spans decades. Its legacy has been built on expertise and unwavering commitment to quality. Devino is a leader in the pearl industry that began its voyage in the early 1970s when Rudi Zingg, a pearl enthusiast, stepped into the world of Japanese pearls. From its humble beginnings, Devino has evolved into a renowned name under the leadership of Caroline Zingg.
Rudi’s initiation into the industry was marked by a deep fascination with pearls, leading him to purchase and take over one of the largest pearl-exporting companies in Tokyo. This venture marked the inception of Rudi’s journey into the heart of the pearl industry. The company initially collaborated with an Australian agent for its pearl exports to Australia. However, when the agent expressed a desire to retire, Rudi saw an opportunity to chart a new path and in 1984, Devino Pearls was born.
As of 2001, a new chapter unfolded as Caroline Zingg assumed a pivotal role within Devino Pearls. Her entry marked the dawn of a new era characterised by innovation, adaptability, and a commitment to quality. Caroline’s expertise and vision play a pivotal role in driving the company forward. “Originally, Devino was concentrating mainly on Japanese Akoya pearls. With the rapid evolution in pearl production, Devino gradually increased its product range to include pearls from Tahiti, Australia, Indonesia, and Burma. “Since I joined Devino in 2001, there have been a lot of changes in production and demand…we have adapted our range to include pearl jewellery as well as strands and loose pearls,” says Caroline.
Caroline’s influence, coupled with Rudi’s legacy, laid the foundation for Devino’s success. The company’s approach remained rooted in its commitment to understanding customer needs and delivering products that met specific requirements. This approach, informed by Rudi’s values and expertise, enabled Devino to provide a reliable and trustworthy service, fostering enduring relationships with its clientele.
“Rudi is one of the few pearl experts in the industry. His many years of experience include buying crops and raw materials, sorting lots, making strands and selling to pearl wholesalers all around the world. His company in Japan was a co-founder of the Japan Pearl Export Association which aims to improve the quality of exported pearls,” says Caroline.
“With his knowledge and background, Devino was able to publish a pearl course for retailers to provide detailed knowledge to sell pearls. A vital part of the business is understanding customer needs and supplying the right product at the right price. Rudi’s passion and the knowledge he has shared with all the staff at Devino enable us to continue providing a reliable and trustworthy service.”
Pearls are a unique creation of nature that come in a diverse range, each distinguished by its origin, size, colour, and other characteristics. Devino Pearls have become synonymous with an expansive range of pearl varieties, each carefully curated to reflect the intricate beauty of nature. From the delicate Akoya pearls of Japan to the exotic allure of Tahitian pearls, Caroline has extensive knowledge of what is available in the market.
Pearls are categorised into two main types—natural pearls and cultured pearls. Among these, cultured pearls dominate the market. They can be further divided into Freshwater pearls and Saltwater pearls. Freshwater pearls are cultivated within mussels, often found in regions like China. In this environment, multiple pearls can develop simultaneously within a single mussel. On the other hand, saltwater pearls form individually within oysters. The distinction among Saltwater pearls lies in the specific type of oyster utilised for their cultivation.
“South Sea Pearls from a white lip shell are mostly white and silver in colour from 8-16mm. They are produced mainly in Australia and Indonesia. South Sea Pearls from a gold lip shell are mostly gold, yellow and cream from 8-16mm. They are produced mainly in Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar. Tahitian Pearls from a black lip shell are mostly black and grey with various colour overtones from 8-15mm. They are produced mainly in French Polynesia and Fiji. Akoya Pearls from the smaller Akoya shell are mostly white, sometimes with a pink overtone, from 2-10mm. They are produced mainly in Japan,” Caroline explains.
Understanding the nuances of these pearl varieties requires a discerning eye, and Devino Pearls’ expertise ensures that each pearl is meticulously selected to uphold its high standards. “Devino rejects all low-quality products as we believe that lustre is the most important quality of a pearl. All other characteristics of a pearl can be a personal choice however lustre is the one quality that should not be sacrificed. The most important thing is that a customer must love to wear the pearls and enjoy it,” she says.
Devino Pearls’ unique advantage lies in its rich industry connections and experience, enabling the company to secure unique pearls while continuing to offer competitive prices to its customers. Preserving the lustrous beauty of pearls requires careful attention and maintenance. Pearls, organic gems derived from living organisms, demand a delicate touch when it comes to care. Devino Pearls goes above and beyond, providing its customers with comprehensive guidance on pearl care, ensuring that these exquisite treasures retain their brilliance for generations to come.
“Pearls are quite easy to look after — if you keep them clean, there is no reason that they won’t stay the same for centuries. You must remember that they are organic by nature and therefore should avoid any chemicals such as perfume and hairspray,” Caroline explains.
Devino Pearls’ journey has been marked by resilience and adaptability, navigating the often unpredictable tides of the pearl industry. The company has witnessed significant shifts, including fluctuating production outputs in market demand. “We have seen many changes in the pearling industry over the years. Saltwater oyster pearl production is expensive and unpredictable. Production output and quality vary year by year as farmers have to deal with oyster viruses, acidification of water, temperature changes and many other issues,” she says.
“On the other hand, there has been an enormous increase in market demand worldwide over the last two years. These factors have led to the current shortage of South Sea, Akoya and Tahitian pearls. Prices, therefore, have dramatically increased. Our current focus is to ensure we continue to source pearls at the best quality and price despite the challenging market.”
The story of Devino Pearls encapsulates an extraordinary journey fueled by passion, expertise, and an unswerving dedication to quality and customer education. Rudi’s founding principles and Caroline Zingg’s leadership have solidified the company’s position as a distinguished name in the pearl industry. From its inception rooted in the allure of Akoya pearls to its expansion into a purveyor of exquisite pearls, Devino Pearls continues to illuminate the path forward, guided by principles that honour nature’s most captivating treasures. With an unbreakable focus on quality, customer satisfaction, and industry leadership, Devino Pearls stands to shape the future of the pearl market, one gem at a time.