Lombok is famous for it's pearls and the island is often referred to as "Pearl Island", attracting buyers from all over Indonesia and the rest of the world to purchase these beautiful and precious "gems of the sea". One of the first things visitors to lombok notice is the sellers on the streets and the beach offering strings of pearls for sale at prices that seem too cheap to be believed. Many people assume they must be fake copies, but this is usually not so. The pearls for sale on the streets are real, however, they are not quality gems and rather than being Lombok pearls, are mostly cheap stock imported from China by astute Chinese traders who live in Lombok. True Lombok pearls are a different matter altogether and while sizes and quality vary, there are some very nice pearls to be purchased here and bargains to be had for those who know how to identify a quality pearl. South Sea pearls are farmed in both Lombok and Sumbawa (the island to the east of Lombok), and are an important industry for the two islands.
The pearl industry in Lombok also has excellent tourism possibilities, with the potential to attract pearl traders from around the world, as well as tourists interested in pearl production and pearl farm tours. The pearling capital of Broome, in Western Australia, for example, holds an annual Festival of the Pearl or Shinju Matsuri, which has become a major 10 day international event and attracts thousands of buyers and tourists to the town every year. This undeveloped potential is being taken seriously by industry leader, Autore, which has pearl farms in Lombok, Sumbawa and West Java, in addition to their main operations in Australia.
Founded in 1991 and renowned for quality, innovation, uniqueness and style, the autore group is one of the largest South Sea pearl companies in the world. the company distributes South Sea pearls to the worlds most prestigious jewellery houses and wholesalers. Autore have now opened a visitors centre and showroom at their pearl farm located in the calm bay of Teluk Nara on Lombok's west coast. Perched over the waters of the day, the autore showroom has views of the dramatic Rinjani mountain range on the mainland and to the east over the buoys of the pearl farm to the three Gili Islands floating in the sparkling sea and just minutes away.
Guests visiting the autore pearl farm have the opportunity to discover how the rare and beautiful South Sea pearls are produced in Lombok, with knowledgeable guides explaining the intricate processes of modern cultured pearl farming from how the oysters are seeded, the growing process, harvesting and grading the pearls, through to the end result the stunning pearls on display in their showroom. Precious loose pearls or striking jewellery set in white and yellow gold, with the distinctive and unique designs for which autore is famous, glow with a life of their own and make a beautiful gift for that special someone, or a lasting memento of a visit to Lombok.
After your tour, relax with a refreshing drink at the small cafe within the visitors centre and enjoy the sea breezes coming off the ocean. The visitors centre is just offshore at Teluk Nara harbour, only 25 minutes north of Senggigi, or by boat from any of the Gilis. Alternatively, ask your hotel or tour agency to organise a visit for you. At present, guests can take advantage of special opening prices for the tour.
A Pearl Farm Tour makes for an enjoyable day trip along the beautiful west coast beaches, to discover the magic of Lombok pearls combined with the unique craftsmanship of AUTORE.