Australian South Sea Pearling Industry is innovative, re-emergent and is embracing the rarity of Australian South Sea Pearls.
Over the weekend (12 November 2016) the Wall Street Journal ran the story on its website For Australia’s Pearl Farmers, the Wild Is Their Oyster.
The story (written by WSJ journalist Vera Sprothen) that charters the journey of the pearling industry over the past few years, and with a point of view that is both refreshing and rare, celebrates quality and rarity in favour of quantity and mass production:
The WSJ website also features a video that supplements the story above (click here to view it):
The video is high quality and augmented with footage from the recent National Geographic/Paspaley production “The Secret Life of Pearls.” Again it refreshingly provides some welcomed clarity with respect to an industry that isn’t well know. What is more it provides some astonishing truths about the industry in a global context:
“Australia is the last place in the world where pearls are cultured in wild oysters. They are handpicked from the ocean floor by divers…”
“In the last few years china has taken over the global market with cheap mass produced freshwater pearls. A single mussel, often cultivated in flooded rice paddies, can yield as many as 50 pearls, whereas a[n Australian] south sea oyster grows just one.”
“Experts say that the quality of cheap pearls is proving every year. However, unlike [Australian] south sea pearls, the Chinese ones are irregularly shaped and bleached with chemicals to give them a white gloss.”
[I note that with respect to pearl quality and rarity, one chinese pearl jewellery producer points out in the video when referring to a pearl strand: “This is a big size south sea pearl from Australia. This is the perfect pearl. In every piece the colours match, the surface is very clean and the size is very big.“
The video notes a sea-change in approaches by the Australian pearling industry. The industry is innovating and branching out into the ability for consumers to feel the pearling experience, to bring the consumer closer even insofar as they can see the “grunt behind the glamour.” The Australian Industry is also embracing their demonstrable sustainability, their harvest of wild oysters by hand, their gentle touch and minimal interaction with the environment and the harmony that is created between the pearl producer and the untamed waters of the Kimberley which is perfectly encapsulated in an Australian South Sea Pearl.
Personally I enjoyed the story. I look forward to the Australian South Sea Pearling Industry to continue to make their global mark.
I note that they [the Australian Pearling Industry] are due for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification – which would certainly make Australian South Sea Pearls the ethical and responsible environmental choice … and make rare Australian pearls rarer still.