Kuri Bay - WA - Australia

Kuri Bay in the Kimberley of north western Australia is a perfect cultivating ground for pearls. The Paspaley pearling base, located in Kuri Bay is run by the Paspaley Pearling Company which has a long and colourful history. Beginning with a Greek family fleeing war-torn Europe during World War I, the family has been involved in the pearling industry in Australia for over 70 years and today the Paspaley name is known around the world as the producer of the world's finest quality pearls. Kuri Bay was named after T. Kuribayashi, a Japanese pearl industry executive, in 1962. The mother-of-pearl shell initially drove Western Australia's pearling industry which supplied up to 70 per cent of global demand for the shell, mostly for use as buttons. Following the boom years in the 1930's, the invention of the plastic button changed Australia's pearling industry forever, the pearling fleets were abandoned with many of the traditional luggers simply left to rot on beaches up and down the coast. Nicholas Paspaley, however, was determined to secure the future of his growing pearling business and inspired by the success that the Japanese had enjoyed with culturing pearls, he began producing South Sea pearls that could match, if not exceed the quality of the rare natural pearls.