Pearls are the only gem produced by a living organism, coveted and treasured for centuries.
The Australian South Sea pearl oyster (Pinctada maxima) is the largest and rarest of all pearl oysters and produces the finest and most beautiful pearl nacre of any mollusk. Not every oyster will produce a pearl, and apart from rare exceptions, most will produce only one pearl at a time.
In the vast region between North Australia and Burma, there are remote isolated places where you can still find in the wild the largest and rarest of all pearl oysters. The Australian South Sea pearl is unrivaled in rarity, quality, nacre thickness, natural lustre, size, and value. It is the combination of these features that make Australian South Sea pearls so unique. Australian South Sea pearls are known for their extraordinary beauty - difficult to define but immediately apparent. Pinctada Maxima oysters are rare and solitary creatures that thrive only in waters rich with microscopic plankton. In small sanctuaries in the Indian Ocean, pearls are still collected the old-fashioned way. Each oyster must be individually hand collected by divers in the deep water.
Due to pollution and exploitation, very few wild oyster beds remain today and they all are protected by the Australian Government. Sadly, the days of wild natural pearls are gone, but in the past fifty years, pearl farmers have mastered the complicated journey of culturing the South Sea Pearl. It’s a difficult process that takes years to develop, because Pinctada Maxima oysters are particularly sensitive to changes in environmental conditions, making them extremely difficult to cultivate. The whole process starts with creating hatcheries of young oysters and then returning them to the wild, where, in a matter of years they will do their magic of creating the World’s most exquisite pearls. The shell of the oyster, itself is highly valued for its lustrous mother-of-pearl that is used for jewelry, fine quality buttons, and inlay.
Stretching from the Cobourg Peninsula north-east of Darwin to Dampier in Western Australia, Australia's remote pearl farm locations have been carefully chosen for their pristine environments, untouched by pollution. These locations provide optimal conditions for the Pinctada Maxima to produce the world’s finest pearls. The most coveted overtones of the Pinctada Maxima are Silver, Cream, and Rose.
Many of the farms are located in or adjacent to national parks, marine parks, and Aboriginal lands. Australian South Sea pearls are cultured through a respectful partnership with nature. The industry operates under the Pearling Code of Practice, which ensures minimal disruption to the natural environment.
Because of the oyster’s great size, the pearls that they produce are much more substantial that all other pearls. Through the last 25 years, the Cultured South Sea Pearl has matched the quality of the natural South Sea Pearls and has become the star of today’s jewelry markets.