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Concentrates on comparing socio-economic aspects of pearl culture in Australia, which mostly relies on the culture of the South Sea pearl oyster P. maxima, with that in French Polynesia which depends on the culture of the black-lipped pearl oyster P. margaritifera. Australian culture of pearl oysters dates from the 1950s whereas culture of black pearls in French Polynesia dates from the second half of the 1970s. After briefly outlining the history of pearl culture in Australia and Tahiti, this paper provides an overview of the industry, comparative structure of the industry in Australia and French Polynesia and its technologies. Socio-economic impacts, especially regional impacts, of the industry are considered. Market characteristics (such as prices of pearls and the marketing and promotion of Tahitian pearls) are given attention and observations are made about Australian export markets for pearls. There appears to be some positive correlation between the price received on average for Tahitian pearls and that obtained for Australian pearl exports, but more control is exerted over Australian supply of pearls to the market so enabling declines in the price for Australian pearls to be counteracted quickly


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