Tell us a little about yourself
After university I started my working life in Perth before moving to Broome in 1996. In 1999 I commenced working with Willie Creek Pearls in the role of Sales and Operations Manager. In 2004 my wife and I moved back to Perth where my journey with Willie Creek Pearls continued.
As General Manager of Retail Operations what does your job entail?
Having been with the business for over 18 years my job is multi-faceted, however, my biggest focus is getting our pearls from ‘shell to showroom’.
Can you walk us through the process a Pearl goes through between when it is harvested and when it ends up in the showroom?
This is actually quite a long process involving careful planning to ensure that each pearl is used to maximise its best features. Essentially once we have the pearls from a harvest the first step is to select pairs for earrings, and then rings. We then work with our jewellers to set the pearls into the beautiful designs you see in our showrooms.
How hard is it to match a pair of Pearls for earrings?
It can be incredibly difficult considering that pearls are so unique, and all five virtues must be taken into account. This is a job I will happily pass on to my most capable colleagues!
Why are no two Pearls ever exactly the same?
By sheer virtue of the fact that Australian South Sea Pearls are a natural product the oyster and environment largely determine the appearance of the pearl.
As well as Australian Pearls, Willie Creek have a stunning collection of Pearls from all over the world, what do you look for when sourcing Pearls from other producers?
When sourcing pearls from elsewhere in the world, whether they be Tahitian, Gold or Freshwater pearls we still consider the same five virtues as we do with our own pearls; the five virtues being size, shape, colour, complexion and most importantly lustre.
Do you think that people’s taste in Pearl jewellery has evolved or changed over the years?
Trends do come and go, however just as pearls are timeless many of our classic designs are still standing the test of time.
What advice would you give to a first-time Pearl buyer?
My advice would be to purchase from a reputable specialised pearl retailer, ideally one that is not just a retailer but also a producer of the product that they sell. Aside from this, they often say ‘the pearl chooses you’ and it is amazing how often this proves to be the case.
What is the best part about your job?
The best part for me is still having the opportunity to meet people who share my love for these amazing products of nature.
What’s the toughest part of your job?
Pearls are not like other jewellery in that they can’t be ‘made to order’. Not being able to see the pearls until they are harvested can make the planning process of what jewellery we are going to make a challenge, yet this also makes it very exciting at the same time!
What is your favourite Pearl shape?
You cannot beat an amazing round pearl with an incredible lustre.
What do you find so special about Australian South Sea Cultured Pearls?
The lustre of Australian South Sea Pearls is world renowned and for very good reason.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about Pearls?
When I first started with Willie Creek I remember how surprised I was to learn of the intricate process by which Australian South Sea Pearls are grown. Like many others, I thought growing pearls was quite a simple process, that started with a ‘grain of sand’. How wrong I was. Today I marvel at the amazing amount of work, effort, time and expertise that goes into producing these most amazing gems.
You can view our stunning collection of Australian South Sea Pearls here.