Pinctada maxima

Australian South Sea Pearls are cultured in the Silver-lipped or Pinctada maxima Pearl Oyster.

Australian south sea pearl (Pinctada maxima) oysters are large dinner plate sized sessile solitary oysters that are distributed randomly on the seabed. The combination of optimal geological and ecological factors at Eighty Mile Beach which combine to produce unique living conditions that are ideal for P. maxima oysters, has enabled the pearling industry to sustainably utilise the stocks of P. maxima oysters that exist nowhere else in the world with such abundance as to support a commercial harvest.

To produce a quality Australian South Sea Pearl, A wild harvested P. maxima pearl oyster must be carefully reared for at least two years in the clean, nutrient rich tropical waters of North-Western Australia, using reliable husbandry systems. P. maxima pearl oysters that are reared in Australia produce higher quantities of pearl making pallial fluid which is the natural substance which contains the constituent components of nacre which makes Australian South Sea pearls the highest quality and the rarest in the world.


The Pearl Producers Association (PPA) is the peak representative organisation of The Australian South Sea Pearling Industry.

Incorporated in 1988, PPA membership includes 100% of all Pinctada maxima pearl oyster licensees, covering all licenses issued under the legislation that operate within the Australian North-west Bioregion. The PPA works on a number or fronts to assist our members from Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Certified Sustainable by MSC

In a World first the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certifies the Australian South Sea Pearl Oyster fishery sustainable.

By recognising sustainable management and marine stewardship of wild fisheries, MSC certification enables us to provide our customers with an added assurance, that they are able to buy Australian South Sea pearls with confidence that their pearl has come from a carefully managed and sustainable source, that is cultured in harmony with the natural marine environment with almost zero effect. What is more, MSC certification assists the most discerning of customers in making an ethical choice; a choice that celebrates careful management and marine stewardship.


The collection of pearl oysters and the culturing of Australian South Sea Pearls is embedded in the narrative of North and Western Australia; it certainly contributes greatly to Broome’s, and indeed the Kimberley’s sense of place.

Pearling has been part of the Kimberley Country narrative since the 1870’s with the discovery of the Pinctada maxima pearl beds in Western Australia. By the early 1900’s the pearling town of Broome, had become one of the World’s most important pearling centres, with the town’s activities dominated by hundreds of wooden pearling luggers and thousands of hard hard hat divers that hailed from countries all over the south seas to collect mother of pearl.

Today the pearling town of Broome, while holding dear its vibrant pearling history, is home to a modern pearling Industry, replete with pearl farmers who culture pearls in the rich pristine waters of the Kimberley and pearl divers who collect wild pearl oysters using wetsuits and masks, and working from large specialised dive vessels with surface supplied diving equipment.

For the modern pearling Industry, while we do look forward, we will never stop looking back. One of our treasures is the rich pearling narrative of those pearlers who have come before us and that have helped to make our industry, and indeed our region, one of the most historically rich in Australia.


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