Northern Australia and the World of South Sea Pearls

Most of the south sea pearl production occurs in western and northern Australia. The Australian government regulates oyster population, as well as the amount and quality of pearls that are exporting. In the early 1890s, William Saville-Kent attempted to nucleate South Sea pearls. However, the Australian government saw cultured pearls as a threat to the natural pearl market. In 1922 the government amended a pearling act to prohibit culturing pearls. In 1949, however, this was repealed, and the Australian cultured pearl industry was born.

Today there are many pearl farms, mostly off the shores of Northern Australia. The oldest and largest farm is on the Kimberly coast 250 miles north of Broome at Brecknock Harbor. Now named Kuri Bay, it is the location of the largest south sea pearl farm and has more than 300,000 nucleated oysters in the water at any given point in time.

South Sea pearls with their stunning array of colors are now a highly desired gem throughout the western world. Price continually rise from year to year and are projected to continue as the demand for this pearl jewelry increases faster than supply.