The Pinctada maxima oyster only grows in the most nutrient-rich waters, in the heart of the South Seas. This region stretches from south of China and Japan to north of Australia and from
Vietnam in the west through to Papua New Guinea in the east. It is in this small pocket within the Indonesian Archipelago that the finest white and silver Atlas South Sea pearls are grown.
More than 20 years ago, Atlas decided to establish its pearling operations right in the middle of this nutrient rich and diverse environment. Today Atlas operates five pearling farms throughout
the Indonesian Archipelago, from the well known island of Bali to the remote Raja Ampat. Each pearl has a unique history encapsulating its four year journey, from hatchery to harvest.
Consequently, almost like a human being, each pearl's virtues will reflect the influence of man and nature along the way.
Atlas Pearls takes an environmentally friendly approach to business through the very nature of pearling itself where a pristine, healthy eco-system is of central importance to the oyster’s survival.
Three of our working pearl farms are open to the public by appointment. This experience offers an incredible insight into village life and the beauty and diversity of the island.
It is here you can meet the people behind our pearls.
Banyubiru is Atlas’s first pearl farm providing access to nutrients originating from the Indian Ocean. Aquired in late 2018, it is located south of Banyuwangi, in the middle of the channel separating Bali and Java.
The farm land base is east facing, beach front of a national park, opposite to the world-renowned surf spot of G-land on the west side of the peninsula. With strong currents, yet sheltered from big swells,
this new site is primarily geared towards growing pearls and ideally complements North Bali operations by significantly shortening live shell vessel transport time. Fishing is the primary industry in the area
with a predominantly Muslim population and very low density in the national park, with the exception of the numerous and adventurous monkeys in surrounding virgin jungle.
2. NORTH BALI
Our technical and R&D hub is based in the Buleleng regency west of Lovina and just east of the tourist location Pemuteran. The local culture is predominantly Balinese Hindu,
however, there is a significant community of Muslims descendant from Javanese settlers. Major activities include tourism, agriculture (grapes, corn, rice, tobacco,
chili and other fruit), pigs, poultry and cattle farming and fishing.
The farms are centered within the villages of Penyabanagan, Sanggalangit, Gerokgak and Patas which is part of the ‘shire’ of Gerokgak, just 3 hours north of Denpasar.
Activities include breeding, hatchery, nursery and grow-out of juveniles, oyster selection, seeding and X-ray. Following X-ray, the positive (pearl carrying) oysters are shipped live to farming sites.
Pearl farm visits are organized daily at our Penyabnagan site, guests are guided through the pearling process and can view a pearl seeding or harvest operation on a live shell.
Pulau Pungu (meaning Island in Bahasa), forms part of the Flores Archipelago and is located 20 minutes away from Labuan Bajo, a growing tourism destination tagged as the ‘next Bali’.
Labuan Bajo is easily accessible with daily domestic and international flights, accommodation as well as ferry links to and from neighbouring islands. It is the launching point for trips to
Komodo and Rinca Island, home to the famous Komodo dragons. Nearby Islands offer extensive diving and snorkeling experiences as well as trekking and waterfall sightseeing or just beach going.
With a workforce of 70, Pungu is primarily dedicated to pearl growing but extended its capability to oyster grow-out and operates the company’s only floating seeding facility.
The company has been engaged in conservation initiatives focused on waste management and fighting erosion through significant mangrove re-planting and artificial reef programs.
Lembata is an island in the Lesser Sunda Island, formerly known as Lombien Island, it is the largest island of the Solor Archipelago and forms a separate regency of the province
of Nusa Tenggara Timur. The length of the island is approximately 80km from the southwest to the northeast and rises to a height of 1,533 meters. The island has plenty to offer,
one of the most famous being its infinite lava at the Batu Tara strato volvcano, the most active volcano in the area. The Lewotolo volcano peaks at
1000 meters directly overlooking the Atlas pearl farm.
Lembata serves the same functions as North Bali operations without the additional support tasks of group engineering, logistics and R&D.
The farm is split into 2 land based sites near the villages of Merdeka (Freedom), Waiengga and Jontalo.
Local industry is predominantly fishing and small-scale agriculture and the religion in the area is a mix of Christianity and Islam.
Alor, one of 3 Atlas pearl farming dedicated sites, it extends at the east-most tip of Flores Island, still within the province of East Nusa Tenggara. Alor is a name pinned to the
regency, the archipelago, as well as the main island of the archipelago. It is located on the south shore of a long and sheltered bay in Flores, Indonesia,
characterised by depths in excess of 200m, less than 200m from the shore.
Whilst this can be excellent for oysters, providing variety in nutrients as a result of seasonal upwelling and cold water, it also presents massive operational challenges. The long
lines from which the holding nets hang, are linked to a square block for ease of maintenance. Each block holds 10 long lines with an average of 30,000 nuclei implanted oysters.
Each oyster will produce a pearl at a depth ranging from 3 to 10 meters over a period of 2 years.
Due to the extreme depths, the blocks in Alor are attached to the shore on one end and anchored at the bottom on the other, sometimes as deep as 120 meters. Depth incurs a
lower average temperature, affecting both nutrients and oyster metabolism which would tend to deliver smaller but highly lustrous pearls.
Alyui Bay is located in the centre of the Raja Ampat Archipelago, West Papua, right where oriental and Australian fauna meet.
It’s iconic cliffs diving straight into the ocean makes it an ocean heaven for both pelagic and reef marine species.
Whilst administratively attached to Indonesia, the area is geographically and culturally closely related to Papua and another impressive example of the country’s wide diversity.
Isolated for a long time, Waigeo, one of the 4 main islands composing Raja Ampat has seen a recent influx of tourism investment with eco-responsible operators offering diving
tours, sailing opportunities on top of the occasional luxury private yacht. Atlas offers private tours of the farm upon request and keeps on site a “treasure chest”
holding the companies best pearls, strands and latest jewellery collections.
The Alyui pearling site is the oldest Atlas site still in full productivity. Originally a self-contained site encompassing hatchery to harvest processes, the site focused on pearl
growing only for a few years but is now returning to oyster seeding as well as growing as a result of high cost and risk related to long distance shell transport.