Tell us a little about yourself
My childhood and school days were spent in the lovely South West town of Bridgetown where my parents settled after migrating from Holland in 1951.
I studied to become a Dental Therapist in Perth, and my first 2 year posting was with the School Dental Service in Carnarvon. After having spent my life in the south up until then, it was wonderful to feel the wide open spaces and warm sunshine of the north. Karratha was my next 2 year posting, which was an exciting, new developing town at that time. Woodside's North West Shelf development was just starting, so the town was busy with many professions to do with offshore surveying in readiness for the huge oil and gas platforms, and pipeline bringing the gas to Burrup for processing.
Of course just up the road from Karratha was Broome, and one long weekend a girlfriend and I decided to go there for a' look ' (this was 1981!). We hired a Mini Moke and zipped about the place, there was not a lot going on! A pretty scruffy, laid back town, the Old Town Jetty, Pearl Sheds on Dampier Terrace, The Japanese Diver's quarters and Cemetery, the Roey pub, a cute vego cafe, Seaview Shops for Ice Cream - were some of my memories.
But that beach! The long, white sandy Cable beach, with 10m tides - I had never seen anything like it! ( we enjoyed the 'right' end of the beach very much!!)
After that first experience, Broome kept calling me back, and I returned for holidays, camping at the Cable Beach Caravan Park (now Cable Beach Resort) and hitchhiking into town!
Eventually, I went on a holiday to Broome with my boyfriend Andrew. We bought a Keshi Pearl from a chap sitting in one of the Pearl Sheds on Dampier Tce (just happened to be Bill Reed!) He knew a jeweller in Perth who could design and make my Engagement Ring using my Keshi Pearl - Alan Linney - no Willie Creek Pearls in those days!!
So began my love of the gorgeous freeform Keshi Pearls.
Working at Willie Creek Pearls showrooms, what does your job entail?
I began work for Willie Creek Pearls in 2007 at the 'old' Sorrento Showroom, when I read a note in the window that they were looking for a staff member.
Even though I loved Pearls, and had quite a good knowledge of Broome, I had a lot to learn, in regard to retailing, and using a computer, for sales/stock reference and so on, and to this day am still learning skills on the computer.
Can you tell us about Keshi Pearls and what makes them so unique?
My love of Keshi Pearls continues to this day, after purchasing that first pearl back in Broome (I have a few to choose from, now!). There are never two alike, they look natural and organic, have varied and interesting shapes, and usually, a deep lustre as they are made of solid nacre. I love the fact that they are as close as you will get to a Natural Pearl. It would be amazing to go diving out somewhere on an isolated reef, collect some oysters, open them, and find a big, natural Keshi!
Instead of having a diameter measurement as with Cultured Pearls, Keshis are sold by weight, as their irregular shape makes measuring inaccurate.
Even though Keshi is Japanese for Poppy seed, we see larger Keshi Pearls, which make beautiful, unique Jewellery.
What’s your favourite piece of Keshi Pearl jewellery in the Showroom at the moment?
My favorite piece in our Showroom is a strand of Keshi's, slightly graduated, with a beautiful lustre.
I like the way they are the 'naughty' pearls, and are often the result of a nucleus being rejected in the production of a Cultured Pearl.
What do you find so special about Australian South Sea Cultured Pearls?
I admire the beautiful lustre of our Cultured Pearls, especially when there is a pink hue as well. Our Broome Australian South Sea Cultured Pearls are some of the largest in the world, and grow in some of the most pristine, isolated waters.
Even though the large, round Pearls are amazing and valuable, they do not suit everyone, and the less expensive, smaller, drop-shaped pearls have their charm and can look very pretty and feminine on a smaller lady.
What is the best part about your job?
The best part of my job is helping a customer to choose a piece which matches their hopes, wishes, and budget. It need not be a large expensive piece, but if it suits the customer, she or he will love it, and wear it often, whether for a dressy occasion or simply during the day. Then we hope the customer will return to find another piece to match, or a gift for someone else!
I enjoy talking to customers about Pearling, and about the History of Pearling in Broome, and get excited when people tell me of their plans for a Broome holiday! Sometimes I get a bit carried away, recommending activities and tours to do while in Broome, especially The Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour, and Pearl Luggers, with its amazing collection of antique Pearling equipment.
I am looking forward to a week in Broome at the end of May, to once again visit the Pearl Farm and Luggers; also to watch the Staircase to the Moon, and sip a Champagne while watching an amazing Broome Sunset over Cable Beach!