The town of Denham originated as a pearling town. The people were fishermen or pearl hunters and farmers. It has now become more of an access point to Shark Bay and the surrounding sites such as Monkey Mia, Francois Peron National Park, Steep Point, Hamelin Pool Stromatolites, etc... With ecotourism now being the main draw of the area and with the focus of Denham shifting to accommodate, the pearl farmers are glad to host tours of their property and introduce people to the work that they do. A couple weeks ago I went on a tour out to the most successful and well run pearl farm of Shark Bay, Blue Lagoon Pearls. It is run by the Morgan family who has been responsible for much of the innovation in their field.
During the tour I was fascinated to learn just how technical the process of growing a pearl is and the amount of investment it requires. It takes years for an oyster to produce a single pearl and even then there is no guaranty that it will meet the standards. The pearls they grow at Blue Lagoon Pearls range from white to green to red to blue to black and everything in between. After giving us a short lesson in oyster anatomy our tour guide even offered us all a small slice of the revered oyster meat. It was quite delicious but I would never pay the sometimes $600/kilogram price for it. I am far from their target customer and not much of an admirer of jewelry in general but those pearls were beautiful. The sheen and dancing light you see in them is just short of hypnotic much like staring into the glowing coals of campfire at night.
|Robbie Morgan showing us a Black Oyster (Fanny Vessaz)|
|One of the original inventions from Blue Lagoon Pearls (Fanny Vessaz)|
|Gemini Pearl (Fanny Vessaz)|