Discover the untold story of how an unknown Aussie battler came to help birth the Australian pearling industry.
MEET JAMES BROWN, AUSTRALIAN FARMER OF THE YEAR
Since 1946, my family have been lucky enough to call this incredible place, The Kimberley, one of the most pristine and remote environments on the planet, our home. It all started when Dean Brown (my Grandfather) chose to risk any chance of a ‘normal life’ to sail north and pitch a tent up here – beginning his great quest to cultivate some of the most rare and beautiful pearls in the world. Since that time, the pearling industry has seen many twists and turns. It’s been an epic (and mostly untold) story of both heartbreak and restored hope, for both pearl farmers and the beautiful waterways we work within. As pearl farmers, our aim is to work in close harmony with Mother Nature, to cultivate some of the most rare and precious gems on the planet. Unfortunately, over the past twenty years, many pearl farms across the world have battled the effects of an ocean under threat, with many farms having to close due to crop failures and wholesale industry pressures.
In 2018, Pearls of Australia was born, with a grand mission to stand at the forefront of a small group of dedicated pearl farmers, marine biologists and scientific researchers, who aim to transform an industry affected by climate change and market shifts, by way of a deep seeded dedication to quality and provenance. It’s the culmination of an epic 75-year pearling legacy, from the very first Australian owned and operated pearling company, Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm. Today, we’re pioneering immersive eco-tourism and venturing into multi-species pearl farming, as our farmers work side by side across Australia, investing in cutting edge technologies, innovation and sustainable marine practices, while also creating a brand new awareness towards this ever-evolving and uniquely challenging Australian story. We’re one step closer towards our shared vision of a world in which farmers, retailers and consumers work together to ensure a future that sees pearls, people and planet living in complete harmony.
Education & Immersion
A NEW CHAPTER EMERGES
In 2009, we made an industry changing decision to open the doors of our pearl farms to the public – to what was previously a very secretive industry. Our aim was to create true transparency around the nature and cultivation of the finest and most sustainable pearls, and connect people to the amazing places in which our pearls grow.
Today, we welcome over 10,000 excited visitors a year to our farms. They have become completely immersed and positively enriched in the many facets of the Australian pearling story, from it’s ancient beginnings to today’s modern pearl farming techniques.
After spending the past decade watching what was once a thriving Australian industry almost completely disappear, one of our greatest privileges has been to help create new opportunities for Australian pearl farmers. We have done this by engaging in an entirely new way with the next generation of pearl appreciators, and delving into the many incredible facets of this rare and precious gem.
ABOUT A GIRL, ABOUT A PEARL
At a time when others only dreamed of growing pearls in Broome’s giant oysters, the pioneering Brown family mastered the secrets to coax the perfect pearls to life. With an Aussie can-do attitude they created Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm in the 1960s, the oldest Australian-owned and -operated pearl farm and producer of the world’s largest fine-quality pearl—the size of a 10-cent coin.
From seven years living in a paperbark hut alongside the local Bardi Jawi people, to herding goats and snakes, and managing a male work crew of pearl technicians, divers and deckhands, Australia’s ‘First Lady of Pearls’ shares her life of adventure raising two children and building an entire community in the isolated tropical paradise of Western Australia’s north.