A day in the Life on a Pearl Farm, part one

A Day in the Life
My experience on a South Sea pearl farm in Australia
By Ahbra Perry of ‘On the Reel Productions.’

The iPhone alarm rings faintly; even Siri is still half asleep.  There is rustling in the hallway.  Someone must be as confused as I am.  Hunched awkwardly in my cubbyhole of a bed, I pull open the porthole curtain to reveal dense blackness.  I begin to worry.  Maybe the ship began taking on water as I slept and we are now rapidly sinking, plunging deep below the surface of the ocean to a certain death, or worse- it’s really still that dark outside.  I grab my toothbrush, fall out of my person-pantry (ladders are of little use at this time of the morning) and stumble into the hallway.

I make my way up to the deck like a drunken pinball, banging into the opposite side of the wall with every step.  I throw my body against a heavy door and tumble onto the main deck where the harsh cold of sea air quickly gnaws at my core.  My earlier fears are quickly realized.  It’s 4:30 in the morning, totally dark outside (the sun isn’t even thinking about coming up for at least another hour), and everyone is already working.

Pearl farm life is strenuous, but for those who toil forward, rising at ungodly hours, it can be some of the most inspiring and rewarding work one can do.  As on any farm, there is the constant challenge of creating and maintaining a delicate balance with Mother Nature.  The pearl farmer is unavoidably at her mercy.

Each farm that I have visited in the past three years has shown me an occupation that is rich in adventure, and in beauty.

The requirements for a perfect site place these farms in pristine and picturesque environments in some of the most remote reaches of the world.  Success in these regions relies heavily on the support of the communities built and sustained by these farms and is uniquely shaped by the indigenous cultures of the area.

Saltwater pearl farming has the potential to create positive impact on all fronts- we would be hard-pressed to find another industry to say the same for.

My film crew’s brief time documenting the life aboard the ships of an Australian South Sea pearl farm provided an experience marked by escapades that only pearl farming could offer.

The Trident Aurora serves as the command center for the Clipper Pearl Farm, and raises her anchor around 4 am.  The divers will hit the water at first light, so all equipment must be prepared, tested, and properly functioning before dawn.  Mistakes are not an option sixty feet below sea level.

Clipper Pearl’s and Autore’s mothership the Trident Aurora

Clipper Pearl’s and Autore’s mothership the Trident Aurora

Immediately after the dive boats are dispatched, preparation for their return is allegedly to begin.  In reality, all deck hands immediately gather around the “WC” – not a toilet, but instead a closet containing instant coffee, Milo (a vitamin-enriched chocolate powder), and hot water.  Everyone drags on rollies – hand rolled cigarettes, the bulk of whose tobacco tends to be taken by the wind.  If the United Nations had a locker room, the chatter would sound something like these deckhands.  The majority of them are young backpackers.  Traveling the world, they are likely in need of a paycheck to afford their next destination.  Greeks, Brits, a Scott, a Norwegian, Germans, Spaniards, French, and of course those from Australia and neighboring New Zealand all confer over a cup of coffee (and quite literally- I’m pretty sure there is really only one mug for ten people).  Being in such tight quarters, they will get close quickly.  Some have already been on a few trips out to sea together, while the rest are “real fresh for the season,” as one of the Kiwis tells me.

To be continued on September 9th …

How to Wear 100-inch Pearl Ropes

The girls are having lots of fun wearing the 100-inch ropes in the office. I too have been wearing the 5.5-6 mm rope for few days. I was pleasantly surprised that the 100 inch does not weigh me down or get in my way of stringing. We’re enjoying this monthly special so much and decided to share some of our styling ideas!


Our lovely Chenai, Director of Operations, is looking professional in the 6.5-7 mm rope. The first style is the multi-layer messy choker look. This style is perfect for the office since the long length will not be bothersome while she works.

Here is how to create this look:

Fold the rope in half and wrap the pearls around your neck two times.

Cut a ribbon of your choice (about 12 inches) and loop the ribbon as shown.

Tie the ribbon into a bow.

Move the bow toward the back of your neck.

The second look for Chenai is the simple knot. This knot looks a lot richer using the rope as double necklace before the knot is tied. It is a simple, elegant look for the office.

Wear the rope as double necklace.

Tie a knot at the center.

Sweet and hardworking Kim is looking fabulous in her dress with classic style of 5.5-6 mm rope.


When you want to keep this layered look in place the pearl clip comes in handy.
Here is how the pearl clip looks at the back:

Pearl clip

Last but not least our comical Allison (who makes us laugh and have a good time in the vault) looks amazing in the 7.5-8 mm rope in jeans. Who said you can’t be casual wearing a pearl rope? The bright white pearls add instant pizzazz to the outfit!

Behind the Scenes: The Great Gatsby Photo Shoot

The Gatsby Photo Shoot with PearlsYou may recall Jeremy’s post last week about The Great Gatsby inspired pieces that he and Hisano have been working on for an upcoming promotion in June. To showcase some of the pieces (freshwater ropes and tassels), we’ve dressed a model up in fashions inspired by the Great Jazz Era.

Enjoy the little “behind the scenes” preview, and we hope you enjoy the finished, chosen photo in  just a few days!

The Great Gatsby Photo Shoot

The Lights are On!

After nearly two full days of working without power, phones or Internet, we are happy to announce that power has been restored to our block!

We had to come up with some very innovative ways to deal with the power outage this week. The week prior to Mothers Day is one of the busiest of the year, so we couldn’t just sit back and wait for the lights to come back on. Some team members worked from home while Kinkos became one of our best friends. The conference room with floor-to-ceiling windows became pearl matching central and we used flashlights and lanterns in the vault!

Another Behind-the-Scenes, Pearl-Photog Day!

Prepping for the Mother’s Day photo shoot

Second only to Christmas, the biggest pearl-giving holiday of the year is Mother’s Day! Every year we try to do something a little bit different, emphasizing the beauty of pearls, but showing moms just how important they are to all of us.

This year, team member Elia decided to invite her mother and her mother’s mother to the office for a Mother’s Day pearl shoot!

 

 

Three generations of beautiful ladies decked out in beautiful pearls make for an amazing photo shoot! Look for the final chosen images on our site and on Facebook closer to the big day!