ATLAS, MOTHER OF PEARLS
LABUAN BAJO, NUSA TENGGARA TIMUR
No one pearl is precisely the same. Just like a woman, each pearl possesses it’s own beauty and history. I have always been drawn to the elegance and sophistication a pearl can enhance to one’s look. With that being said, it has been my honor and privilege to be working alongside Australian brand, Atlas Pearls as their Brand Ambassador.
An honor not only because Atlas Pearls are world leaders in eco-pearling and produce highly sought-after silver and white South Sea pearls, known as the queen of gems. Not only because they are fully committed in their green-minded approach by ensuring there is minimal wastage in production and understanding that a pristine, healthy eco-system is imperative to the oyster’s survival. And not only because they prioritise in empowering and educating the local people and communities that are behind the pearls. It is also an extreme honor for me as an Indonesian to represent such beauty that comes straight from our shores.
Yes, that’s right. Atlas Pearls are produced right here in Indonesia. How proud we should be! There are five pearling farms scattered throughout our beautiful archipelago – three in Bali, one in Raja Ampat and another in Labuan Bajo. I have been waiting impatiently to go and visit one of the pearl farms and understand more about what goes behind the production process and finally, my wish had been granted! I traveled for my first time to Labuan Bajo, Nusa Tenggara Timur with the Atlas Pearls team and could not contain my excitement at finally visiting this gorgeous area of the country.
We stayed on the island of Labuan Bajo and took a 15 minute speedboat ride to the island of Pungu where the pearl farm is located. Situated literally right in front of the picturesque shore and pearl farm is the charmingly quaint Atlas showroom where they showcase the beautiful pieces. Guests, business owners and various journalists all gathered that day in Pungu to learn more about the world of pearls.
Did you know that it takes 4 years to produce one single pearl? 4 years of love, passion and care. In today’s times, most pearls are cultured, meaning that they are grown with the influence of human intervention. They are implanted with a nucleus to encourage the natural formation of a pearl. The process to create the pearl itself requires a harmonious relationship between man and nature that is more like painting than an analytical exercise.
The people behind the pearls are like what I mentioned previously, a core and inherent part of the Atlas story. Pearl technicians are a fundamental part of the Atlas community. I am proud to say that 100 percent of the Atlas technicians are women, a distinctive fact in what is traditionally a male dominated industry. The loving, graceful and nurturing hands of women are what help create the world’s most beautiful South Sea pearls. Essentially, it is women creating jewellery for women. I love that.
We were in for a treat as we got to witness a technician scraping out pearls straight from the oyster. I looked on in amazement as I saw the result of mother earth and man working harmoniously together to create something so precious. After this experience, I definitely gained a new found respect for all the skills, time and hard work needed to produce just one pearl.
Indonesia possesses incredible beauty. We have so much to offer and even more so to be proud of. Next time you visit Labuan Bajo, please visit Pulau Pungu and stop by the Atlas showroom. When you visit, you’ll see that these pearls are the same pearls being distributed to major International jewellery brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Mikimoto. Pearls that are produced right here from our very shores. I know that when I wear my Atlas Pearls, I am truly celebrating the spirit of Indonesia.
Note: Pictures number 3, 9, 11, and 15 taken by Jayesh Madhoo