ODE TO THE PERFECT PEARL | Solitaire Magazine

ODE TO THE PERFECT PEARL

Model wearing pieces from the Looped collection

From Indonesia to New York, Atlas Pearls delights the world with its beautiful eco South Sea pearls

A great success story always starts with a passion, and Atlas Pearls’ is one for the books. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of its first pearl farm in Kupang, Indonesia, Atlas Pearls is globally renowned for its passion for eco-friendly pearl farming. It was the perfection of its pearl hatchery technology that opened a whole sea of opportunities for Atlas Pearls. Soon they started breeding their own oysters to cultivate world-class silver and white South Sea pearls in a controlled environment. To date, the company operates six farms, dotted throughout the nutrient-rich waters of the Indonesian Archipelago, from Bali to West Papua.

 

A pearl diver in action

The production of cultured pearls is a complex process that involves knowledge, skill, and patience. Mastering all these elements and supplying some of the best quality South Sea pearls to prominent global pearl trading companies and jewellery houses in Paris and New York over the last 25 years, Atlas Pearls has grown its production from a promising 50,000 pearls in 2000 to a staggering 500,000 18 years later.

South Sea pearls’ colour spectrum at Atlas ranges from white to gold. But due to the commercial success of neutral shades, extra efforts are purposely given to the production of white and silver variations. Easier to match in this generation of ever-changing fashion, white pearls are classic and eternal.

 

Loose South Sea pearls

“The colour, one of the key virtues of a pearl, is a result of the underlying genetic inheritance of the host oyster, as well as the natural water conditions and even food variations. No matter how man tries to bend the rules, nature always wins,” shares Pierre Fallourd, Managing Director of Atlas Pearls. “And just like every other virtue of the pearl that we aim at perfecting, colour always has a way of surprising us.” Other virtues of a pearl include its size, surface, shape, shine, and ‘orient’, a rainbow-like prismatic effect resulting from light refracting through the layers of aragonite crystal forming a pearl.

Mark Longhurst, a passionate veteran Australian pearler and Chief Operating Officer of Atlas Pearls, is convinced that it is nature, along with the passionate men and women working together harmoniously at the pearl farm, that gives each gem its unique lustre and orient, the inner glow from within. “There is no short cut in the careful process of giving birth to quality South Sea pearls,” he confirms.

 

Workers at the pearl farm, grading pearls

Pearls are the only organic gemstone around, and nature plays a very important role in their origin. Cultivating the best quality pearls requires the most pristine environment, almost like a natural sanctuary. Thus, the cleanliness of the farm area is a top priority for Atlas Pearls. Non-extractive breeding technology not only helps nurture oysters with specific attributes, but also provides shelter and food for the nearby marine life.

Apart from the environment, it is the people behind the pearls that are most vital to pearl farming. Economic alternatives are the prime benefit of pearl farming, providing the community a variety of job options, from farming to management. Other ancillary benefits that reduce isolation for secluded islands include logistical support and infrastructure improvement. Atlas Pearls’ exclusive pearl farms in Bali, Flores, and West Papua are open to the public for immersive pearling experiences, giving rise to a whole new tourism-friendly industry.

 

Model wearing a pair of classic South Sea pearl studs and a layered necklace of keshi pearls

“We are engaged in various initiatives that benefit the surrounding communities, including environment awareness lectures, beach clean-up operations, water and waste management programmes, and beach erosion and mangrove replanting projects,” explains Fallourd.

Atlas Pearls also offers contemporary pearl jewellery to its discerning list of clientele. “We carry our story in our creations. Most of Atlas Pearls’ jewellery collections are designed to hand over the creative power to our customers,” shares Fallourd. “Our designs are stripped off of all unnecessary clutter, making the pearl the hero every time. We see ourselves more as stylists than traditional retailers, and I believe this is the modern twist our clients are expecting.”

 

Looped necklace in yellow gold and a South Sea pearl

Their latest collection, Looped, revolves around bold circles and patterns depicting the numerous concentric nacre layers that form a pearl. The playful collection is young in appeal and perfectly timed for the holiday season. All jewellery can be worn in a variety of lengths and styles, providing the wearer options to dress up or down at will.

Faceted bracelet with iolites and South Sea pearls

Another collection, Faceted, celebrates the colour variants of the South Sea pearl and juxtaposes it with natural gemstones. South Sea pearls in white, cream, green, and golden shades are paired with iolite, garnet, peridot, and citrine beads to create swingy station necklaces, bracelets, and dangling earrings.