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The Magic of Pearls

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11 – 15 May 2009

N11 08.170 E119 39.287

The miracle from the oceanThe miracle of the golden pearl

When we saw mariculture listed amongst the subjects WWF wished us to document, my first thought was Jewelmer. For many years, we have longed to photograph a pearl farm to see how the famed South Sea Pearls came to be. An organic jewel made by a living organism and fed by the ocean’s plankton is too precious to miss. With open arms, the Jewelmer team welcomed us to their Farm 4 in Malotamban Island, Taytay, Palawan.

Jacques Branellec explaining the grafting process of inserting a nucleus and mantle into the gonad of an oysterJacques Branellec explained the grafting process of inserting a nucleus and a piece of mantle into a canal of the gonad of an oyster, which eventually turns into a pearl JB shows freshly harvested pearlsJB shows freshly harvested pearls

We felt overwhelmed, as no less than Jacques Branellec, Jewelmer’s charismatic French managing director, brought us around, first to his quaint resort Flower Island, then to the pearl farm. We saw the farm’s full operation from land, sea, and air.

Jewelmer has an extensive website which tells the story of nature’s miraculous pearls. I shall only hope to scratch the surface, showing the complex pearl story through pictures.

Doris in her plankton lab where she cultivates oyster baby phytoplankton formulas Doris in her plankton lab, where she cultivates baby oyster phytoplankton formulas Hanging nets containing pinctada maxima oyster shells undergoing one of 323 steps to make a pearlHanging nets containing Pinctada maxima oyster shells undergoing one of 323 steps to make a pearl Divers transferring oyster nets to the "highway" to let the ocean feed the oystersDivers transferring nets to the "highway" to let the ocean feed the oysters After 5 years of tender loving care, a perfect golden south sea pearl worth up to $10,000 is made by natureAfter five years of tender loving care, a perfect golden south sea pearl worth up to $10,000 is made by nature, with a little help from man

Jewelmer’s commitment to the protection of the environment is crucial to the survival of their multi-million dollar business, not to mention the thousands of people who work for them.  Each worker and leader of the different departments of the pearl farm see their work more as a vocation than a job, as the care of nature brings in return a magnificent jewel only a clean environment can make possible.

Let's not lose our models. They are worth a lot . . .Let's not lose our models. They are worth a lot!

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Comments


  • Jeff

    Amazing photos and great story. I love this blog. The only downside is that I am jealous that you get to travel to such beautiful places and meet so many people. Keep up the great work!

    • Stella Chiu-Freund

      Many thanks Jeff. You can visit these places too you know. The Philippines is a great place to travel and Filipinos are some of the friendliest people on earth! Everyone is smiling here!

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  • perlita

    how wish to be a part of this prestigious company.. its very entertaining and enjoyable job.. keep posted some new articles about pearl oyster… thank you..

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