Blue Pearls Business

Jeweller Murray Brereton, left, and stepson and shop manager Tomas Quinn-Walshe with paua where blue pearls are formed, and a piece of jewellery.<BR>Photo: http://www.stuff.co.nz

Jeweller Murray Brereton, left, and stepson and shop manager Tomas Quinn-Walshe with paua where blue pearls are formed, and a piece of jewellery.
Photo: http://www.stuff.co.nz

Blue pearls business in New Zealand


Blue pearls are made from paua shell. A plastic resin implant is carefully placed into the live paua and the shell grows over it. It forms a mabe pearl, which is flat on one side and round on the other, unlike traditional pearls.

It takes two to three years for the pearl to develop inside the paua, and having the right water temperature and high-quality seaweed contributes to the clarity and colouring of the pearl.

Mr Quinn-Walshe said his stepfather Murray was very passionate about blue pearls, and he and his brother Allen created a finely calibrated machine to produce perfectly-sized mabe pearls.

"I didn't really know a lot about pearls at first, but have learnt heaps about the scientific side and the aesthetics of jewellery.

"Most of what I've learnt I've learnt from Murray, so it's quite easy to be enthusiastic about it. I've still got heaps to learn, though."

Usually, the blue pearls are sold by themselves or as pendants or brooches.

"We haven't really encouraged rings, as you don't want it rubbing against your skin, and need to clean them. But after receiving feedback from people wanting rings, we've started making them," he said.

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