A creation of the pearl oyster, a mollusc whose species has survived 530 million years, natural pearls are extremely rare, the result of an astonishing accident of nature. When an object lodges in the delicate flesh within the oyster’s shell, the oyster isolates it inside a pearl sac that secretes nacre or mother of pearl, the same substance that lines its shell. Over time, usually a few years, it becomes smooth and hard – a pearl, an organic gem, the jewel of the sea.
It took thousands of years to understand nature’s secret. The result, the cultured pearl, is a remarkable marriage, a perfect balance between science and nature, a shared wonder. South Sea pearls are the finest in the world, a product of the larger tropical water oysters such as the gold and silver lipped oysters of the North West shelf.
Using a technique refined over decades of experimentation, oysters are seeded with a bead and a small piece of oyster tissue and left to manufacture their precious cargo.
After two to three years the oysters are collected and in a delicate operation, the pearl is removed before the oyster is re-seeded and returned to its cool, clear ocean home.
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