Pearl festival offers close encounters

Carly LadenBroome Advertiser
Guests participating in a pearl grading workshop.
Camera IconGuests participating in a pearl grading workshop. Credit: Cygnet Bay Pearls

Along with Shinju Matsuri’s many celebrations and events across Broome, the festival, which ran from August 25-September 2, also ventured to the Dampier Peninsula for the first time.

Cygnet Bay Pearls celebrated its 2018 harvest with a sell-out three-day festival that attracted hundreds of visitors.

The festival came in the wake of a discovery of 10 natural Keshi pearls in one oyster, causing a bidding war between jewellers around the world.

The celebration included many events, including a party with live music and pearl oyster eating competition, a family fun day raising funds for Save the Children, and an outdoor movie screening of the critically acclaimed films Gurrumul and Stranded in Style, where guests were taken to an island and offered the chance to wear a selection of strand pearls. Cygnet Bay Pearls director James Brown said he was blown away by the huge success of the weekend after attracting a vast array of residents and visitors from around Australia.

“Our harvest party is a long-held tradition which celebrates the incredible achievement of our crew, and we were thrilled to extend this celebration to the public this year as part of Shinju,” he said.

As part of Broome’s Festival of the Pearl, Cygnet Bay Pearls also delivered pearling experiences, including a two-day masterclass that allowed guests to delve deep behind the scenes of the farm with the opportunity to seed and harvest a pearl. The masterclass included a delegate of the inaugural Australian Pearl Masterclass Voyage, which was a week-long journey from Broken Bay Pearls in New South Wales to Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm.

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