After the war business was slow and then plastic buttons were invented, which rduced the world markets furher. However the industry was saved by the advent of cultured pearls. Today Broome produces 80% of the world's best quality pearls.
Before leaving Broome on day3 we were taken to the Willie Creek Pearl farm for an informative tour.
We were told how highly skilled technicians insert a nucleus under the gonad of the oyster.
The technicians have to work through the tiny opening of the bivalve.
We were taught how to judge the worth of pearls by observing the shape, the skin, the colour and the lustre. They can fetch thousands of dollars.
We were taken on a boat to where the shells are farmed. Each buoy has a rack attached to it.
They pull the rack up and check for disease and clean the algae off with a brush. Turn them around and then suspend them in the water again.
Of course we were ushered into the shop before leaving. We had fun trying to guess the worth of the necklaces. This one being modelled by Pauline was worth thousands.
Can you tell which string of pearls is the fake?
I'll tell you on my next post.