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Claire Waylen - Product Manager in Perth

January 25, 2021

Claire Waylen - Product Manager in Perth

Tell us a little about yourself? 

I’m originally from the UK but moved to Perth when I was a child with my family who were chasing sunshine and the Aussie lifestyle. After a few years in Perth, my family decided we could do with even more sun and we relocated to Broome, where there would be no winter to contend with at all. I had a wonderful time there throughout my teens, making fond memories and many lifelong friendships. After completing high school, I moved back to Perth, but Broome still holds a special place in my heart, and I love to get back there every now and then. 

As Product Manager in Perth, what does your job entail?

In short, my role is centred around turning our Australian South Sea Cultured Pearls into the jewellery range you see in our showrooms. This begins with going through every new batch of pearls we produce, assessing each pearl to decide which piece of jewellery it should be made into and working closely with our jewellers to make this happen. It’s always exciting to see a new batch of pearls. There are usually a few pearls in each batch which really jump out at me - after 12 years of working with them, I still see pearls which surprise me and are unlike any other.

Tell us how you started working for Willie Creek Pearls?

I didn’t start working for Willie Creek Pearls until many years after moving back to Perth. I was looking for a career change after several years in my previous job when a friend from Broome, whose brother was working for Willie Creek Pearls, let me know about a position available in the Perth head office. 

I was excited at the idea of having a connection to Broome and learning more about pearls, so I applied for the job and the rest is history.

What are the best and toughest parts about your job?

The best part for me is seeing a pearl become a beautiful new piece of jewellery, particularly if it is a new design idea. It is always received with excitement by our showroom staff, and ultimately taken home by an admiring new owner!

The toughest is pairing pearls for earrings. It might not sound too difficult, but considering each pearl is unique and there are five different virtues which all need to match quite well, it can be much more challenging than people realise.

What do you find so special about Australian South Sea Cultured Pearls?

The spectacular array of natural hues and their incredible lustre. In our 2019 harvest, there were some of the most beautiful and lustrous pearls I have seen.

Before starting work for Willie Creek Pearls, I had never really considered how pearls were produced, I just thought they were beautiful. Learning about this process really grew my appreciation for these amazing gems.


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