Highest Honor for Philippine Golden Pearl Pioneer at Global Jewelry Awards

Jewelmer's co-founder Jacques Branellec was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for changing the global jewelry landscape.

One of the pioneers of the Philippine golden pearl recently received one of the most prestigious awards in the global jewelry industry.

Jacques Branellec, Jewelmer co-founder, president and CEO, was bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award at the sixth annual Jewellery News Asia (JNA) Awards. The award is only given “to leaders and visionaries who have changed the landscape of jewelry and who have made a lasting impact in the world at large.”

Branellec was given the honors at the InterContinental Hong Kong with over 100 participating entries from over a dozen countries and regions, including China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.

“This award holds much meaning to us, because Jewelmer was there in the first issue of JNA, at the time when Letitia Chow and Peter Brindisi established JNA in 1983,” said Branellec. “Our companies began and evolved together." 

The 2017 JNA Awards’ judging panel consisted of leading experts in the global jewelry industry, namely Albert Cheng, Advisor to the World Gold Council, Far East (WGC); James Courage, former Chief Executive of Platinum Guild International and former Chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council; Lin Qiang, President and Managing Director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE); Nirupa Bhatt, Managing Director of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in India and the Middle East; Yasukazu Suwa, Chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc of Japan; and Mark Lee, Research Director of Asia Pacific Institute for Strategy (APIFS).

“Our honoree companies and individuals this year have all demonstrated extraordinary leadership, and serve as brilliant examples of what can be achieved if one is bold enough to break new and innovative grounds,” said Chow. “Every single company or individual who participated in this year’s awards has shown the core values that make our industry great, and for that, they truly deserve our most heartfelt congratulations.”


Jewelmer was established in 1979 by French pearl farm specialist Branellec and Filipino entrepreneur Manuel Cojuangco. The brand was built on the two’s dreams of creating an environmentally-sustainable luxury brand that protects and conserves Philippine coastal communities. Through Jewelmer, Branellec pioneered the black Tahitian pearl and the golden South Sea pearl (also known as the Philippine pearl) making the Philippines a force to be reckoned with.

“Jewelmer has grown to champion a larger cause—not only to create the perfect pearl, but to nurture the environment that produces it,” says Branellec in his acceptance speech. “At the height of global warming, we have to change our ways. The whole world and the jewelry industry—[especially with] the pearl industry [being] one of the leaders of the field—should consider not anymore the volume or the quantity, but the quality and the sustainability.”

“To me,” Branellec says, “this award means that if you innovate with the right intention, you will be rewarded beyond what you can imagine.”

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Paolo Chua
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