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Pearl Farm Visit | Journey of South Sea Pearls

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Bali is not only a place of idyllic paradise, rich in culture and diverse in traditions, it is also a home to one of very few pearl farms in the world. I got the rare opportunity to visit the beautiful island to educate myself about the intricate process of producing one of the highly sought after pearls in the world: the South Sea. Atlas Pearls and Perfumes is a global leader in Eco pearling for over 20 years and produces pearls of the highest quality, it has a worldwide reputation for its lustrous silver and white pearls. I toured one of 5 Atlas pearl farms across the Indonesian archipelago and discovered the rare insight into how a real pearl farm operates from pearl birth to cultivation, harvesting to grading, and finally designing jewellery that compliments the pearls. There is also an incredible story into the island's village life and its local people working for Atlas.

Through the looking glass | The breeding of pinctada maxima using advanced hatchery techniques

 Tears of the Moon | Another romanticised way to describe pearls. When the moon goddess cries, her silver tears fall into the ocean and form pearls

Heart of the pearl | The nuclei ready for implantation

Demonstration | Becoming a pearl technician takes years to master and involves practice, patience and dedication to successfully implant the nuclei and piece of mantle graft that will trigger the formation of a pearl. All the pearl technicians at Atlas are women because they exhibit all the characteristics that allows them to consistently deliver the highest quality pearls.

Livelihood | 1,000,000 oysters in Atlas' North Bali pearl farm. The pristine environment of the remote Indonesian Archipelago allows the pearls to reach maximum potential. Witnessing the way farmers respect their environment and care for the oysters is truly inspirational.

From the beginning | Spat (baby oysters) are less than a month old and ready to be attached to the lines. These babies came from the hatchery... it's amazing that in 4 years they will produce the pearls we all come to love 

Labour of love | Farmers delicately cleaning the pearl oysters and lines will do so once a month to remove organisms growing on the shells in order to produce the highest quality of pearls

Calm | Endless floats that stretches for miles
3000 hands | A skilled Pearl Grader checks the colour, shape, complexion, size and lustre for over hundreds and thousands of South Sea pearls every year. 
Queen of all gems | Even though it does take years to become a skilled pearl grader I find that a natural ability and intuition to see something that majority cannot is also advantageous

Scenic pearl farm jetty | What can I say it has been a wonderfully educational experience. I come away from this trip with a heightened sense of appreciation for pearls and eagerness to further my understanding of the oldest gem in the world. 

Photo: My own

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