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The “PearlOpal” story

Beginning with an idea

Back in 1999, Steve Koncz – an opal cutter and wholesaler, was thinking about the great lengths jewellers go to combine various gems with pearls to try to come up with new and attractive ideas to create items of jewellery. This is when the idea of PearlOpal was born. Steve could envision the finished product and found the prospect of creating something of such unique beauty thrilling, but at the same time wondered “why has this not been done before?" So the decision was made to have a go at creating them.

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The idea to reality

2007 – 8 years after the idea was born, the first successful commercial harvest of PearlOpal has been completed. Over the years various trials have taken place at different pearl farms within Australia,  and it took at least 3 years before the first piece ever had been harvested – thus proving that PearlOpal could in fact be a reality . Previously this had never been tried so it was a case of trial and error and a lot can and did go wrong.

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How it’s done

PearlOpal is created by implanting an opal into a live pearlshell which is then put back into the ocean and left for approximately 12- 18 months (depending upon the locality). Many problems can arise, such as cyclones, whales tangling the lines holding the shells, disappearing shells (through no fault of the pearl farmers). The opal inserts themselves even had to undergo modification several times before the shells would accept them. The production of PearlOpal is  truly a case of “ Desert meets the ocean.”
Firstly, the opal miner digs the opal from underground where it has taken millions of years to form.Then the opal is passed on to an opal cutter who carefully shapes and polishes it – bringing out it’s magnificent colours. Then finally  it is specially prepared for it’s insertion into the pearlshell. The preparation involves three separate steps that have to be just right. If the preparation is not exactly right the shell will die.The pearlshell is then gently coaxed open - it can’t be forced as the stress would kill it - so they are only opened about 2cm, then a technician skilfully inserts the opal (sometimes with gold setting around it). The pearlshell is then rested and returned to the ocean. Once there, it  has to be regularly cleaned to prevent marine growths and worms from causing harm.


Finishing touches

Once the the opals have received the required mother of pearl covering,usually after 12-18 months, then they are harvested and the PearOpals are removed.

Each piece is then further, very carefully processed in a way so that the opal and gold (if any) is exposed, letting the colours show.  You can see in each piece that the pearl shell has created a setting around the opal and the finished piece allows the colours of the opal blend with the glow and lustre of the pearl. This is a wonderful way to combine two of natures miracles, Opal and Pearl into something that you can wear the colours and glow changes under different light conditions....amazing.
Once the pieces are processed they are taken to our jewellers and further skilled  work is done to set them, mostly in pendants using 18ct. gold. As you can tell, this is a long process, and the description only brief. But we are thrilled to be able to present this totally unique product to the market. 

We are the only manufacturers of PearlOpal anywhere in the world at present. PearlOpal is currently being made at  the Blue Lagoon Pearl Farm situated at Shark Bay in Western Australia. This pristine area is the ideal home for the creation of this new gem. We have so achieved up to  100% success rate with seeding, which is indeed rare, these people really know what they are doing!
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