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Article: Pearl Farm

Pearl Farm

A journey to a very special place in search of the perfect South Sea Pearls.  

In flourishing pristine waters a pearl is grown, nurtured and then harvested from the most beautiful and remote location in far Northern Australia - it is an astonishing journey that we love to share.  

The Gove Peninsula is on the west coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria with Arnhem Land, a vast tract of Aboriginal-owned land on the Northern Territory coastline. The township of Nhulunbuy is the main commercial and service centre of the Peninsula and is 600 kilometres east of Darwin. 

The Gove Peninsula is on the west coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria with Arnhem Land, a vast tract of Aboriginal-owned land on the Northern Territory coastline. The township of Nhulunbuy is the main commercial and service centre of the Peninsula and is 600 kilometres east of Darwin. 

 

The rhythm of the day is dictated by sun up and sun down and each member on the pearling mother ship plays a strategic role in making sure the all important Pearl shell is treated as gently as possible.  Pearls are the only gem that emanate from a living organism so the health and well being of the mighty Maxima Pinctada shell is paramount. 

Overnight the shell is brought on board the mother ship to rest in tanks where the water is constantly changed.  This process relaxes the animal prior to the little operation it undergoes the next day to reveal the pearl it has been nurturing for 2 long years. 

The oyster then receives another small nucleus and is very gently replaced into the sea where it resumes its happy life surrounded by pristine turquoise water brimming with nutrients.  It is a rare honour to be onboard a pearling vessel at harvest time.  It is the most intense time of the year for the farmer and the masters and everybody plays their role. 

I am in awe of quite frankly everything that takes place at the farm and to sit and look at the pearls as they come straight from the oysters is a dream for a jewellery designer.

People are always interested to know that the extraordinary Maxima Pinctada oyster can produce several pearls in its lifetime and it lives its natural term.  The health and well being of the oyster is of paramount importance to each and every one of the passionate people who live at the farm - which incidentally is located in one of the remotest places on the planet in East Arnhem Land. 

Visiting this paradise is one of the great experiences of my life. 

 

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