The people behind the pearls and the environment where they grow are integral and critical to their story and heritage. Each Atlas pearl is made of thousands of concentric layers of aragonite crystal deposited around a spherical nucleus carefully inserted into a host mother of pearl oyster by a skilled and inspired master grafter.
Over the years, Atlas Pearls has managed to build a strong culture around a set of cohesive and stimulating values such as Respect & Integrity, Care & Understanding, Community & Teamwork, Passion & Commitment, Intuition & Initiatives.
The pearling cycle is four years long and labour intensive. Each oyster is manipulated more than 500 times over the course of its productive life. It is crucial to continue to fuel the passion of the people behind the pearls and empower them. Continuous on-the-job training, regular talent promotion, stimulating career paths and gender equality are cornerstone to achieving our goal as an organisation.
The emerging collaborative economic global trend is calling for a better alignment and improved communication among the key players along the pearling and luxury value chain. The customers of tomorrow are calling for more transparency and direct access “behind the scenes”. Three of Atlas’ Pearl farms -Bali, Flores and West Papua- are open to the public and offer an immersive experience, as well as a variety of fine and fashion pearl jewellery. Atlas Pearls is the only active pearling company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, which gives everyone a chance to own a piece of the dream as well.
Making the most of our available resources constitute the path towards sustainability which in turn allows Atlas Pearls to provide jobs to over 900 people on a permanent, contractual and casual basis. Pearling also offers stable and direct employment to local communities in remote areas where there are little alternatives as a result of isolation. Those benefits extend to a variety of joint building, supply, repair and even oyster grow-out activities.
Modern pearling became non-extractive with the perfection of hatchery technology. Pearlers can now select spawners and breed oysters to suit specific attributes without affecting natural resources. Pinctada maxima, mother of pearl oysters, feed on microorganisms or plankton born of photosynthesis in the ocean.
Those same filter feeders also retain polluting agents such as heavy metals and cyanides within their gills and in doing so restore balance within the environment they grow in. Our oysters are held in nets hanging on underwater long lines which constitute both substrate and shelter for life to flourish. Juvenile fish and bivalves, soft fouling and crawling animals are thriving on those structures which act as artificial reefs in addition to their primary duty to secure pearl bearers and provide easy access for maintenance.
Last but not least, a significant portion of sub-tropical reef areas have been threatened by human predation. Destructive and illegal fishing practices using dynamite or cyanide have lead to long term damage. Pearling requires an environment free of harm, making pearl farms natural sanctuaries. Fish catches within or at the fringe of pearl farms are often multiplied several fold when compared to non-protected areas.