The Northwestern coast of Australia is home to one of the most prized gemstones in the world; the Australian South Sea Pearl. Thanks to strict quotas and regulations, Australia is proud to be one of the last sources for South Sea Pearls in the world today.
The oyster that creates these pearls with their full lustre and thick nacre is Pinctada maxima, with white pearls coming from the white-lipped oyster, and golden pearls coming from the golden-lipped. Australia generally produces white pearls, sometimes with different undertones such as blue or pink. Golden South Sea Pearls are generally from closer to the Philippines and Indonesia.
The industry first came to be in the 1800s, with Broome in Western Australia becoming the main hub. At the peak of the industry in 1910, there were over 400 ‘luggers’ (wooden vessels) working the pearl beds with the help of divers to produce pearls and Mother of Pearl (there’s actually a church in Broome with beautiful Mother of Pearl inlays as it was so plentiful). The industry wasn’t without risk; there was a high mortality death in the divers, from shark attacks, to the Bends, and rough weather from cyclones.
It wasn’t until the late 1950s that the first pearl farm opened, allowing pearl farmers to produce pearls in an environment closely replicating the wild oyster populations. It meant that the wild population didn’t need to support the industry alone, so overfishing wouldn’t become a problem, even with high demand.
Each oyster takes approximately two years to produce a pearl once it has been cultivated, and given that the oyster treats the nucleus as a foreign body, it is unlikely that the resulting pearl will be perfectly round. This means that perfectly-formed round pearls attract a higher price point than irregular shapes.
Pearls are a wonderful addition to your collection, be it in a pair of earrings, a traditionally strung necklace, or a contemporary ring. The 30th wedding anniversary gift is also pearl. Nicole has a wide selection of pearls in all shapes and sizes from all over the world, with an emphasis on ensuring she procures them from sustainable sources. We invite you to come and view them today for your special piece.