Aerial view of the MV Nalena Bay.
Over the course of fifty years, we have unlocked the secret of creating superior pearls. Mimicking nature as closely as possible, there are five stages within the pearl cultivation process.
Paspaley diver, scouring the seabed for the wild Pinctada maxima oyster
Handpicking the wild shell from the depths of Australia's northwest
THE CULTIVATION PROCESS
Our pearling process begins with the careful harvesting of the Pinctada maxima oyster. Off the remote shores of Australia’s Kimberley coast, Paspaley divers handpick each wild oyster. The selected wild oysters are then returned to a 'nursery' on an open patch of ocean floor, awaiting the all-important seeding procedure. A strictly limited number of oysters may be harvested at any one time, ensuring long-term sustainability of the industry.
With artful precision, our technicians delicately seed each oyster, planting a polished sphere of Mississippi clamshell to stimulate the creation of nature’s gem. The state of the art pearling vessel, MV Paspaley 4, is home to this complex process. Once seeded, the oyster is returned to the deep and left to thrive over a 2-3 year period.
Our pearlers nurture each oyster for a 2-3 year period. During this time, the oysters absorb the nutrients of the pristine waters, shaping each pearl to be as unique and beautiful as possible.
The moment of reveal, harvest season is abuzz with excitement. The oysters are raised from the ocean and returned to the Paspaley fleet, where our technicians delicately open the shell to reveal its creation – unknown until that very moment. Oysters that produce a high quality Paspaley pearl are seeded again for another harvest.
Our highly accomplished pearl graders assess each pearl individually, meticulously scrutinising each one with respect to The Five Virtues: Lustre, complexion, shape, colour and size. A combination of these virtues determines the value of each Paspaley pearl. Only the most beautiful pearls are handpicked for our designs.
A pristine Paspaley pearl farm in the Kimberley, Australia
A naturally beautiful Paspaley pearl is removed from the Pinctada maxima oyster
Sorting and grading Paspaley pearls
THE FIVE VIRTUES
Paspaley pearls are the most beautiful of all pearls.
Each Paspaley pearl is assessed according to The Five Virtues. It is a combination of these virtues that determines the value of each pearl.
EXPLORE THE FIVE VIRTUES
The beauty of a pearl lies in its lustre. Natural lustre is instantly recognisable, referring to the behaviour of light interacting with the countless layers of pearl nacre. Nacre is the pearlescent organic material created by the oyster, which forms the pearl.
Pearl quality is influenced by the number and size of imperfections and their degree of visibility. A pearl with a flawless surface is rare. Clearly noticeable imperfections will significantly compromise a pearl’s appeal and value.
A pearl’s shape does not affect its quality; however demand for a particular shape does impact value. Perfectly symmetrical pearls are particularly rare and desirable, although ultimately, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
Paspaley pearls are the largest of all pearls, typically ranging from 11mm-16mm. Larger sizes exceeding 20mm are occasionally found and such pearls are highly prized.
The wide array of natural colours typically mirrors the overtones of the pearl shell. Colour, like shape, is a very personal choice. Paspaley pearls are typically white, silver, cream or gold. White with pink overtones is the most prized of all colours.
Every Paspaley pearl is accompanied with a Certificate of Authenticity. This guarantees the genuine Australian provenance, the natural colour and natural lustre of each precious Paspaley pearl. Our pearls are not treated in any way with chemicals or other artificial enhancements; unlike many other pearls available today. A selection of our exceptional pearl strands are also accompanied by a GIA certificate, as an independent assurance of quality.