Pearl Pioneer Salvador Assael Is ‘Revealed’ in New Short Film
The mini documentary dives into the life and legacy of the man who created the market for Tahitian pearls.
The 75-year-old company, which sources fine pearls and coral and sets it in high-end designs, has debuted a new documentary-style short film called “Assael Revealed— The Legendary Legacy of Pearl Pioneer Salvador J. Assael.”
Produced by Emmy Award-winning producer Dean Love and his company, Dean Love Films, the mini documentary explores the legacy of the late Salvador Assael, whom The New York Times dubbed “a titan of the cultured pearl business.”
The film dives into his love affair with fine pearls and the impact of his leadership in the sector. It also reveals the history of the brand through interviews with his wife, including significant milestones and Assael’s vital role in the creation of the Tahitian pearl market.
“My late husband was a legend in the pearl world,” Assael President and CEO Christina Lang Assael said.
“He was the first to bring South Sea Pearls to North America, and he literally started the global Tahitian pearl industry. This long overdue film tells the true story of him as a swashbuckling adventurer with incredible business savvy and an absolute genius for marketing. I am honored to now share his legacy with fellow pearl connoisseurs.”
The larger-than-life man went to “the ends of the Earth” to source pearls, she says in the documentary.
“He was such a genius. He recognized the value of a natural black pearl. So what did Salvador do? He decided to start cultivating,” she says.
He bought an island, built a landing strip and “created a little world.”
After he had amassed enough black pearls to create the first full Tahitian pearl strand necklace, the story goes that he took it to his friend, Harry Winston, challenging him to sell it.
Winston accepted the challenge, putting the stone in the center of his most important window on Fifth Avenue.
It sold within a week, according to the documentary.
The short film also features appearances by Stellene Volandes, editor-in-chief of Town & Country; award-winning jewelry historian and author Vivienne Becker; and Peggy Grosz, senior vice president of Assael, whom Assael attributes with adding colored gemstones to the brand’s jewels.
Watch the full film above or on YouTube.
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Take a tour of Italian designers at COUTURE 2021.
The in-person and virtual event is slated for Oct. 20.
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