“Bula” (pronounced mboolah) jewelry lovers, aficionados and hobbyists! Bula is Fijian for hello and we’re just back from a South Pacific buying trip that included a brief stop over in the Fijian Islands. Literally traslated, the word “Bula” means LIFE and we haven’t encountered a place more teeming and full of life and natural beauty than Fiji. While in Fiji, we visited the Island of Savusavu. This emerald paradise is home to around 5,000 residents and also the J. Hunter Pearls “Pearl Farm”— established by Fijian Justin Hunter, who returned home to Fiji from the United States in 1999.
Hunter’s Suvasu facility is low water coastal pearl farm located in a pristine Fijian bay. Hunter’s operations is based on the cultivation of “Black Lipped Oysters” (Pinctada margaritifera).
These large oysters are easily identified by their size, fringe like growths at the edges and “black lips”.
J. Hunter Pearls is a relatively new player in the “pearl game”. However, the company’s forward thinking, innovations, passion and desire to grow with the community have garnered a great detail of positive attention.
While visiting the J. Hunter Pearls showroom, we were enchanted by some of the most colorful and spectacular specimens we have ever seen.
We learned that process of producing such pearls requires the perfect oceanic environment and farmers who carefully monitor and nurture black lip pearl oysters. Further, it involves “grafting” — the delicate process (basically a surgical procedure from our understanding) of inserting a nucleus into the oyster. The “pearl” then forms around the nucleus. When harvested, the pearls can come in an assortment of different colors including: Gold, Copper, Champagne, Pistachio, Cranberry, Chocolate, Blue and Green.
- Some of the pearls we saw and handled in the showroom even appeared to have hues of turquoise and rose-red. The average size of the pearls at J. Hunter are between 10.5 – 11.0 millimeters. However, some are as large as 18 millimeters. We also learned that being a pearl farmer means being at the mercy of Mother Nature.
In March 2010, Fiji was hit by Cyclone Tomas, and the J. Hunter Pearls farm was devastated. Yet the company continues to rebuild and looks forward to the future. This picture below is the bay where the pearls are actually grown and farmed. J. Hunter works closely with the local community to ensure that their pearl farming operation not only produced gorgeous pearls, but does so in an environmentally sustainable and economically responsible manner. Check in with our ebay store in coming months where we will be offering some of the pearls we acquired from the J. Hunter.