Wednesday, 7 August 2013

A pearl of a day at Broome

I couldn't resist the temptation visit to the Willie Creek Pearl farm.
Come along with me and learn about cultured pearls.

Sonia explains the anatomy of the pearl and demonstrates the techniques developed by Mikimoto  in Japan during the 1920's which continue to be used worldwide.
Divers collect a quota of pearl oysters - pinctada maxima - from January to March.
The oysters rest for a few months before the seeding a nucleus from Mississippi mussel into the gonads of the oyster along with some of the nacre secreting mantle tissue which develops into a sac around the nucleus.

The oysters are suspended in rafts and are their shells are regularly cleaned and barnacles are removed.

After  two years the pearls are harvested the oyster shells undergo the process three more times, each time the nucleus is larger. 
After the fourth cycle the oyster shell is used for mother of pearl.
Keshi pealrs are entirely natural and are irregularly shaped.
A fourth year pearl.

We go out to visit a pearl raft.

We visit the pearl showroom.
Pearls are graded for excellence in surface and lustre and size, shape and colour. Surface (absence of imperfections) and lustre are the most important.

 I try on a beautiful graded pearl necklace - the best in the store.
Alas, no room in the pannier.

 I head back to Broome and arrive at Cable Beach just as the sun sets...

.. and as the camel train is coming up from the water's edge.
Take a peek at Radioman's blog  for some fabulous photos of the camels at the water's edge.

Just as we are about to find a table for dinner we are spotted by Michael, Peter, Brian and Anne who we had met several days ago at Marglu Billabong.
A kiwi dinner ensues.

It has been a pearler of a day.

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