As we prepare for our amazing Pearls and Opals trip to Australia in 2015, we rejoice in the wild, adventurous things to do throughout the country and gear up for our amazing discovery of pearls in Broome. Broome is nestled in Western Australia. It is, as writer Spida Everitt reports, “where the ocean meets the Outback. “ He explains you can see the red dirt of the outback, “right to the edge of the Indian Ocean.”
Broome is historically very significant to the pearl industry. In the late 1800s, oysters were harvested in this region for mother of pearl for buttons, inlay and decorative pieces. At one time 75% of the world’s mother of came from Broome, Australia. More recently, it is the home to cultured pearl farms throughout the coastline and saltwater mangroves. responsible for the culturing of gorgeous South Sea pearls.
In the early 1900s Japanese citizens flocked to Broome to work on pearling ships, as pearl divers or to work on land in the cultured pearl farms. In fact the town has a Japanese cemetery with 919 Japanese divers who lost their lives working for pearls. Which is truthfully, extremely sad. But it illustrates the wealth of people and diverse nationalities that flocked to Broome for work and treasures. To this day Broome is a very multicultural city. Although home to only 15,000 residents, the town is growing.
One can still find the ancient pearling ships, luggers, dotting the coastline. These old fishing vessels with their noticeable, large lug sails, are no longer used in pearling but they are fun to see and ride on. There are also sunset camel rides along the coast and dinosaur footprints that are 130 million years old.
The beauty, uniqueness and pearls are what is drawing us to Broome on our upcoming trip! So of course, along with everything else we are planning a fabulous visit to through the blue waters of the Indian Ocean to see a working South Sea pearl farm. I cannot wait to get my hands (and my neck) on these gorgeous gems!