However, the invention of the plastic button in the mid 1950s reduced demand for mother-of-pearl shell, virtually devastating the industry overnight, with the fleets of pearling luggers abandoned once more on the beaches. In Darwin, Paspaley increased his pearling fleet to 5 pearling ships. Nicholas Paspaley joined the pearling trade at 14 years of age. He died in 1984. Nick is a Board member of CIBJO – The World Jewelry Federation  whose charter is the promotion of ethics and responsibility in the jewellery industry for the protection of consumers, and to foster confidence in the jewellery industry. A few impressions of the early seal survive showing a greatly simplified version of the present coat of arms. In 1911 the College of Arms confirmed the arms and granted the Company a crest and motto, ‘Honor Deo’ (Honour to God).
Every year the Mercers' Company publishes an annual review of their activities. Natural Pearls and Cultured Pearls are available in strands, singles, pairs, full drilled, half drilled, undrilled, natural colors, and enhanced colors. Saltwater Cultured Pearls: Abalone mab, Abalone blister, Tahitian, black pearls, Akoya, round, drop, button, baroque, semi-baroque, Japanese, and Chinese. According to the newest definition, this is not valid as our “extras” are harvested from freshwaters. Pearling Returning operated shell to surface longlines. Cultured South Sea pearls became known simply as "South Sea pearls". The origin of the Mercers’ Maiden, the heraldic emblem of the Company, is not known. Paspaley was established by the Paspalis family, who migrated from Greece to Australia in 1919. Children whose father or mother was a member of the Company at the time of their birth have an automatic right to become Mercers by 'patrimony'. In education, the Company has administered St Paul's School since 1509 (and its prep school St Paul's Juniors), St Paul's Girls' School since 1904, two prep schools in London, The Hall School and Bute House, and retains close links with Collyer's College, Dauntsey's School, Abingdon School, Peter Symonds College and Gresham College, all founded by mercers. One other route to membership is by apprenticeship, but this has not happened recently. Today, the family business is the source of the rarest and most valuable pearls in the world. The architect was E. Noel Clifton of Gunton and Gunton.
Stewart Marjoribanks a merchant in the India trade, connected with the East India Company, a founder of the Pacific Pearling Company in 1825 and also associated with the Australian Agricultural Company. He dedicated his whole life to the pearling industry in the remoteness of North Australia. that this area was still in pristine condition and is a breeding ground for humpback whales.
Today, as defined by CIBJO, it is a cultured pearl formed accidentally resulting from bead nucleation in which a bead and tissue graft is inserted into a saltwater (marine) mollusk and the bead is rejected, leaving only the tissue graft to form a cultured pearl. Nick Paspaley Jnr joined the Paspaley Pearling Company in 1969 after graduating from Sydney University as a Bachelor of Economics. They are coveted for their organic shapes and variety of sizes. He was also awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship for his services to the community through Rotary International. In 1530 the Company stated to the College of Heralds that they had no arms but only a Maid's Head for their common seal and in 1568 the Heralds registered the seal as the Company's arms.