Rosario Autore (The Autore Group) (Est. 1991 – ) According to the Autore Group’s official website, the company is a vertically integrated, advanced pearling group whose pearls are sourced directly from South Sea pearl producers, two of which it owns jointly. The company harvests 300,000+ pearls per year from pearl farms on some of the world’s most beautiful coastlines from the northwest coast of Western Australia to the tropical islands of Indonesia.
The Group’s headquarters is based in Sydney where the pearls are graded for distribution to many of the world’s most prestigious jewelry houses and wholesalers. This makes Autore one of the largest distributors of South Sea pearls in the world.
The success of the Autore Group derives from the vision of Rosario Autore, the founder and principal driving force behind the Group that’s been involved in the South Sea pearling industry for over twenty years.
Originally known as Rosario Autore Pty Ltd, the company was founded in 1991 when Rosario Autore attempted to bring the best pearl farms in Australia together with the most exclusive buyers. Operating out of a small office in Sydney and initially supported by just one Western Australian South Sea pearl producer, Rosario began exporting pearls directly to Japan, the United States, and Europe.
In the years since, Rosario Autore’s commitment to the industry has revolutionized the international wholesaling of South Sea pearls. The development and inception of a specific pearl grading system that includes valuation services, along with Autore’s personal approach to business, has enabled him to position his company so it is recognized and respected by wholesale buyers, retailers, and consumers worldwide.
When Rosario Autore first travelled to Australia, he began building relationships that enabled him to start purchasing pearls from Broome, the coastal region often called the ‘Pearl of North West Australia’ and precipitated his career. Born in southern Italy, he worked for a wholesale pearl trading house in Tokyo before moving to Australia at age 26 to work directly in the pearl industry.
“I grew up with a deep love of the natural environment and the ocean. [As] I come from a line of merchants, working in the pearl trade, [this] was a logical step,” he said in an interview with Claire Adler of Sparkle.com.
“When I arrived in Australia, the South Sea pearl industry was secretive and controlled. I made Broome, the pearl farming capital, a stopover on most of my sales trips and started becoming more of a regular face, eventually convincing one of the local residents involved in the pearl industry to allow me to cook dinner for him and his associates. It was only then I became accepted as a de facto resident and was able to start buying pearls from them.”
In the interview, Autore confirmed that today’s pearl jewelry is a far cry from classic strands with matching earrings.
“In today’s evolving world of fashion,” he said, “pearls are becoming modern and stylish, appealing to women of all ages and demographics. More people from a wider range of ages, cultures, and regions around the globe now have access to beautiful, contemporary pearl jewelry, driving a huge expansion of the market. A fine quality strand of South Sea pearls will always be a difficult and rare item to produce and these pearls still command very high prices.”
The Autore team of designers, technicians and jewelry experts create innovative and contemporary pearl jewelry. Utilizing high levels of quality control, each piece of jewelry is designed specifically for pearls that combine fine materials and craftsmanship.
Technicians hand-select each pearl individually then match the pearls to the hues and tones that best suit the precious and semi-precious stones of each piece. The pearl is not an accessory to the jewelry; it is the focus of the piece.
With award-winning jewelry designer Alessio Boschi as Jewelry Design and Product Development Director, the Autore jewelry collections provide the market with South Sea pearl creations that push the boundaries of pearl jewelry.
The building that houses the Autore Group’s central office in Sydney is a modern facility that is a beehive of activity. Following harvest, pearls are transported to the company’s headquarters. In spacious viewing rooms flooded with natural light, every single pearl is examined for presentation to buyers on behalf of the producers.
Each pearl is weighed, measured and assessed according to Autore’s Five S Grading System. These S’s include Shine, Surface, Shade, Shape and Size™. One by one, the annual harvests pass through expert hands that prepare them for sale to exclusive jewelers and wholesalers in the global marketplace.
The company designs, manufactures, and distributes South Sea cultured pearl jewelry, sourcing the pearls through exclusive distribution and marketing agreements with eight South Sea pearl producers, including two of its own farms. Autore distributes over 600,000 South Sea pearls annually, handling about 18 percent of the total global production of white South Sea cultured pearls. The group sells approximately 67 percent Australian and 33 percent Indonesian cultured pearls.
Among the company’s collections which feature white, gold, and black South Sea pearls in an array of colors and hues are four lines: Essential, Boutique, Couture, and Scheherazade.
Essential is comprised of simple, basic designs. Boutique is a ready-to-wear range featuring classic designs with a modern twist that uses fancy colors and keshi pearls. Couture consists of highly detailed pieces, either in limited editions or one-of-a-kind in styles that are influenced by Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Gothic, and elements of Eastern Art. Scheherazade is inspired by the Arabian tale, “A Thousand and One Nights” and features motifs from architecture, carvings, and tapestries.
Suggested retail prices range from $1,500 to $195,000 for one-of-a-kind pieces like the Queen of Samarkand necklace.
At the 2015 Baselworld exhibition, the brand displayed both classic necklaces and luxurious pieces of fine jewelry made using a variety of stylistic selections. The Group’s 2015 collection was dedicated to the Australian orchid with the flower present in every work in the line.
The pearls act here not just as an accessory, but the center of beautiful floristic composition. Their second collection of the 2015 year was inspired by rose-cut diamonds invented in the 16th Century. The collection consisted of mostly basic jewelry that is modern yet also with a noticeable classic flair.
In 2005, when Rosario Autore branched out into jewelry design and manufacture, his designs quickly became celebrity favorites. At first, Autore wanted a high profile Australian male to be the face and style of the range of unisex pearl chokers, He selected swimming’s golden boy of the moment, Ian Thorpe as the firm’s ambassador.
He worked with Thorpe to create the Ian Thorpe Collection, a unique range of edgy, urban designs that incorporated the beautiful South Sea pearls for which Autore became known internationally. Autore jewels have since been worn by celebrities that include Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Selena Gomez, and many more.
In 2006 Autore launched the world’s first comprehensive South Sea Pearl Classification Guide, which has allowed buyers, retailers, and consumers to understand how to grade and classify South Sea pearls.
Autore still travels extensively visiting his farming operations regularly, as well as meeting with new and potential clients. During the harvest season, he spends time at the Autore Broome pearl farm. The sea-based operation takes place on a ship that becomes home to 34 employees on a 10-days-on/5-days-off roster.
Autore also has a strong commitment to the regions in which his companies operate. His Indonesian company has received awards for providing employees with excellent working conditions.
Autore offers retailers strands as well as jewelry that includes South Sea cultured pearls in all shapes, sizes, grades, and colors. Approximately 80 stores worldwide currently market the Autore brand.
The brand also offers retailer support materials that include: marketing support for in-store promotions and advertising campaigns; packaging, including boxes, pouches, and bags; authenticity certificates; South Sea cultured pearl grading guides; a branded consumer magazine, posters, and show cards.
In another interview, Rosario Autore said, “To receive such an amazing response to Autore jewelry and to be commended for our great designs with five global jewelry awards has been incredible.”
No small part of this success has been Autore’s wife, Jane, who is the Autore Groups’ design director.
“We set out to come up with a new way to design, wear, and appreciate the South Sea pearl,” he’s said. ”I knew this was what the international pearl jewelry world needed.”