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Frequently Asked Questions
Find the answers to our frequently asked questions here.
Why are Australian South Sea Pearls considered the best pearls in the world?
The Australian South Sea Pearl is the most revered and highly prized pearl in the world. Willie Creek Pearl Farm utilises the largest pearl producing oyster in the world, the Pinctada maxima.
Grown in the pristine coastal waters of Broome in Northwestern Australia, we produce some of the largest and best pearls in the world. Utilising modern pearling techniques and practices, our pearls are coated in a thick layer of nacre, producing a stunning natural lustre unrivalled by any other type of pearl.
How are pearls attached to the bale/mount when the jewellery is made?
With every piece of fine pearl jewellery, there is a pin on the setting. This pin is inserted into the predrilled pearl, and a specific type of adhesive is used to glue the pearl to the setting. The size and thickness that Willie Creek Pearls specify for this pin is above and beyond industry standards.
Are chains included in the price of a pearl pendant?
If a chain isn’t purchased, pendants will come with a gold-plated or rhodium plated stainless steel display chain for presentation, however it is not recommended for wear. Chains are sold separately, click here to view chains.
We stock 9K white and yellow gold chains, 18K white and yellow gold chains, silver chains, and neoprene's of various types, thickness and length that can be purchased separately.
How can I distinguish the grade of a pearl?
Pearls are graded against five universal virtues: lustre, complexion, shape, colour and size. Learn more about the Five Virtues of a Pearl here. Other methods for distinguishing the grade of a pearl can differ greatly. Even in Broome, pearl farmers have different systems for grading their pearls!
An AAA grade pearl at one pearl retailer may have the same characteristics as another pearl retailer but be referred to as an A grade pearl.
What colour and shape pearls are the most expensive?
Pearls are valued based upon their representation of the five pearl virtues: lustre, size, shape, colour and complexion, and how each of these elements combine. Complexion and lustre are often considered two of the most important characteristics, with size, shape and colour a matter of personal choice and individual style. Learn more about the Five Virtues of a Pearl here.
Why are freshwater pearls cheaper than saltwater pearls
Freshwater pearls tend to be cheaper than saltwater pearls as they are less expensive and less difficult to cultivate. Freshwater mussels can produce in excess of 30 pearls at a time, in as little as six months. The saltwater oyster typically produces only one pearl and it takes two years to grow.
How are baroque and round pearls formed?
Round pearls are formed when the oyster secretes an even coating of nacre on the inserted nucleus. A baroque pearl is formed when these layers are non-uniform.
What type of diamonds do you use and where do you source them from?
Outside of jewellery that is specified as having diamonds from the Argyle Diamond Mine, our ‘white’ diamonds are sourced primarily from reputable Australian diamond suppliers, who source diamonds that have been ethically produced. Unless specifically specified otherwise, the diamonds are of G/H colour and SI clarity.
What is the difference between 9 carat gold and 18 carat gold?
Pure gold is soft and is often mixed with other metals to make it harder and stronger. The colour of gold can differ not only between 9 and 18 carat gold, but also within the same carat. 18ct gold is 75% pure gold and 25% other metals (usually a combination of silver and copper). In the case of white gold, that 25% consists of white metals (eg. nickel, zinc, palladium) to give it a silvery hue. 9ct gold on the other hand is is 37.5% pure gold and 62.5% other metals.
All the white gold jewellery at Willie Creek Pearls has been given a coating of rhodium plating to enhance its white colour and shine. We recommend matching the gold used in your jewellery bale to your chain.
Caring For Pearls
Can I wear my pearls all of the time or should I limit wear to preserve their quality?
Pearls require moisture to maintain their appearance, and therefore it is great to wear them against your skin. Wear them as often as you like; however, remember to take them off if involved in activity that could scratch, knock or damage the pearl or parts of the setting. Avoid direct contact with perfumes, lotions and hairsprays by ensuring your pearls are the last accessories you put on when getting ready and the first removed. Gently wipe your pearl with a soft cloth and store separately when not worn.
Can I wear my pearls to the beach?
You can wear your pearls to the beach however it is important to remember that sand (which contains silica) can be extremely abrasive. As is the case with all jewellery, it is not advisable to wear your pearls in the ocean. Even though pearls come from the sea, salt and chlorinated water can, over time, reduce the lustre of your pearls.
Willie Creek Farm Tour
How do I get to Willie Creek Pearl Farm?
There are three travel options to and from Willie Creek Pearl Farm. You can catch our airconditioned coaches which feature informative commentary from our drivers during your journey, you can drive yourself in your own 4WD, or you can travel in style in a chartered helicopter via our partners KAS Helicopters. Browse our options here.
Due to our magnificent tidal movements, we alternate travel between a track identified by red markers and alternative route identified by blue markers. If you are driving yourself, please look out for our signage on Manari Road which will advise which track to take. Then simply, follow the coloured markers and enjoy the stunning artwork from our resident artist Donna Fortescue, guiding your path on your way to and from the Farm.
You can download a copy of our map here.
What is the difference between the red track and the blue track and how will I know which one to take?
Both tracks lead to the same place, via alternate routes. We can switch from the red track to the blue track at any time due to the effect of any number of environmental conditions such as tide, rain or bush fire. Signage on the way to Willie Creek will indicate which path to take, as well as highlight any road closures. The roads on the way to Willie Creek Pearl Farm are maintained and managed by the Shire of Broome and the condition of them is out of our control.
Where does the coach pick up from?
Our coaches collect guests from various locations in Broome, but we don’t collect from private addresses and Airbnb's. Our pickup locations are listed when making a booking online or by advising our bookings staff of your location so we can confirm your pickup time.
What should I bring with me for a day at Willie Creek Pearl Farm?
We recommend wearing comfortable clothing. Closed-in shoes are not mandatory; however, some guests find it more comfortable when climbing the steps to board our boat. You may wish to bring a hat, although the tour does not include much time spent in the direct sun. We provide sunscreen, water and bug spray at Willie Creek Pearl Farm for your convenience.
What sort of vehicle do I need to travel to Willie Creek Pearl Farm and how will I know what the road conditions are like?
We recommend always travelling in a 4WD. The journey out to Willie Creek Pearl Farm is an authentic part of the experience! The roads are unsealed, corrugated and sandy in some parts; however, also enable you to view some of the amazing native flora and fauna featured in the region. The conditions of the public road vary at different times of the year and are out of our control. They are maintained and managed by the Shire of Broome which does include opening and closing them in the event of certain weather or environmental events.
Follow the signage and advice on which track to take on the way to Willie Creek Pearl Farm.
Can I put Willie Creek Pearl Farm into my GPS for accurate directions?
Most GPS systems are not aware of the changing track conditions that can result from a change to our operations for the day. Please DO NOT use your GPS but DO follow our instructions and the signage on the way to Willie Creek Pearl Farm.
Is Willie Creek Pearl Farm disability friendly?
The grounds at Willie Creek Pearl Farm are wheelchair-accessible, with ramps fitted and an ambulatory restroom available. Wheelchair access onto the boat component of the tour is restricted and as such, a land-based tour commentary is offered in its place. Our tours are created with accessibility in mind, with the use of microphones, visual components, and tactile props to assist in increased access for all. Please contact us to discuss your individual requirements and how we can meet your needs during your visit to Willie Creek Pearl Farm.
Can I bring my dog/s to Willie Creek Pearl Farm?
Dogs are not permitted on our tours or decking area at Willie Creek Pearl Farm. Please be aware and cautious of the resident crocodiles in Willie Creek and other native fauna including reptiles. If you have a guide dog, please call ahead of your tour.
What is the duration of the Willie Creek Pearl Farm tour?
For guests catching our coach, the total tour time from point of collection to return drop off in Broome is approximately 5 hours. For guests driving themselves, excluding travel time to and from Willie Creek Pearl Farm, the tour is approximately 3 hours. We recommend you allow an hour each way for travel if you are driving yourself.
If I book a coach transfer, can I stay at Willie Creek Pearl Farm for lunch?
Unfortunately, a standard coach transfer does not allow time to stay for lunch, however you will be provided with complimentary refreshments. Please book a designated lunch tour if you wish to stay for lunch.
Can I share a lunch with someone if I book a tour with lunch?
You are welcome to share your lunch; however, please keep in mind all lunch options, including lunch paddles, are designed for one person.
Is food included in the tour?
Yes, all Willie Creek Pearl Farm tours include refreshments, featuring our famous damper recipe. We also offer tours with lunch included, where you can choose a platter featuring options from the Earth, Land and Sea.
Is the tour conducted on a boat?
One component of the Willie Creek Pearl Farm tour is conducted on board a tour boat. Guests will cruise the tranquil waters of Willie Creek to where oysters are suspended in their pristine environment. Guests will also have an opportunity to sight an array of native wildlife. Learn more about the Willie Creek Pearl Farm tour components here.
How do you source electricity and fresh water at Willie Creek Pearl Farm?
We generate our own electricity and fresh water at Willie Creek Pearl Farm. We operate a desalination plant to produce fresh water and our electricity is currently supplied through diesel fuelled generators. We are presently finalising plans to
transition to solar powered renewable energy production.
Do staff live at Willie Creek Pearl Farm or do they drive from Broome every day?
Staff/caretakers live on site so there is a presence 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. The majority of our staff do commute in and out of Broome every day. We meet at a centralised location and travel together in company vehicles, or in the coaches that transport our guests. From time-to-time staff might be lucky enough to travel via the chopper to or from work!
I have already undertaken a Willie Creek Pearl Farm tour. Can I come out for lunch, a shop and to enjoy the views without undertaking a tour?
Yes, you are more than welcome to visit during our opening hours. We recommend calling in advance to ensure we are open, due to our seasonal opening times.
Can I camp, swim and/or fish at Willie Creek Pearl Farm?
We do not have camping facilities at Willie Creek Pearl Fam and cannot provide fresh water or ablutions. There is a free camping area at the natural boat ramp, which is not bookable and often frequented by caravans and campervans.
As a guest at Willie Creek Pearl Farm, swimming is not permitted due to the numerous resident crocodiles that frequent the area. We do have some fishing rods with lures that can be borrowed and used during business hours.
Are there any other places to visit near Willie Creek Pearl Farm?
For customised recommendations of places to visit around Willie Creek Pearl Farm, please contact the Broome Visitor Centre. The Broome Visitor Centre can also provide you with further information about camping areas in the vicinity.
Services and amenities are not available at Willie Creek Pearl Farm after hours.
Pearl Luggers Tour
Is there a café at Pearl Luggers and when is it open?
No. We have a bar facility onsite, but it is only in operation during private functions and events. Please visit our Pearl Luggers Venue Hire page for information on hosting a private event.
Can I book Pearl Luggers as a venue space for a wedding or an event?
Yes, Pearl Luggers is available to hire as a venue space for weddings and other events. More information is available at our Pearl Luggers Venue Hire page
Does Pearl Luggers provide furniture and equipment for events?
Yes, a range of furniture is included in your venue hire. You may bring in other hired furniture More information about available equipment and venue hire is available on our Pearl Luggers Venue Hire page.
I have already undertaken a Pearl Luggers tour. Can I visit Pearl Luggers without booking a tour?
You are welcome to view the historical items on display in the courtyard at Pearl Luggers and in the connecting Chinatown showroom during business hours. The Tenders Store and Dive Room can only be viewed during a Pearl Luggers tour.
Harvest Your Own Pearl Experience
Where does the Harvest Your Own Pearl Experience take place?
The Harvest Your Own Pearl Experience Takes Place in our Elizabeth Quay Showroom in Perth, WA. Showroom information can be found here.
Where do the oysters for this experience come from?
Oysters for this experience are transported from our Willie Creek Pearl Farm, located 38km north of Broome.
How many people can accompany me for this experience?
Our signature Harvest Your Own Pearl experience is conducted in an intimate setting, with a maximum of two people able to take part at one time.
What if I don’t like the pearl I harvest?
Guests can exchange the pearl they harvest for a $500 jewellery gift card. For more information, please refer to our Harvest Your Own Pearl Terms and Conditions found at the bottom of this page.
How long does it take to get my harvested pearl turned into a piece of jewellery? Will it cost extra and how much?
You have the option of taking your loose pearl away in a cage pendant or having your pearl set on a jewellery mount in stock, costing the price of the mount only. We will endeavour to have the piece ready for you as soon as possible, however, can guarantee that it will be completed within three weeks.
Why is there a capped value on the harvested pearl?
The value of the pearl inside an oyster cannot be known until it is harvested, graded and valued. In order to offer this experience at an affordable rate and in a manner that is viable, we place a $5000 pearl value cap on the $500 experience. Learn more in our Signature Harvest Your Own Pearl Terms and Conditions.
Is this experience a suitable gift to purchase for a loved one?
Yes, the signature Harvest Your Own Pearl experience is a unique and exciting gift that your loved one will remember for years to come. We offer this experience in a gift-wrapped box or in digital format for easy distribution.
This experience seems too good to be true. What is “the catch”?
As a commercial pearl farm operator, Willie Creek Pearls works hard to bring the full experience – from shell to showroom – to our customers. We pride ourselves on being able to offer this experience by bringing shell from our commercial pearl farm in Broome to the heart of Perth. In order to offer this experience in a manner that is viable, we place a $5000 pearl value cap and Keshi pearl rule on the $500 experience. These details are outlined in our Signature Harvest Your Own Pearl Terms and Conditions. Those who do not wish to keep their harvested pearl can exchange it for a $500 showroom gift card, so essentially, this experience offers no “risk” and is a great way for our customers to understand the full journey of the pearl. Take a look at our testimonials for feedback from our previous Harvest Your Own Pearl participants.
Group Pearl Harvest Experience
How many people are involved in this experience at one time?
The Group Live Pearl Harvest accommodates a minimum of eight guests, and a maximum of 20 guests at any one time.