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Reproduced courtesy Estate of Denis George

Collection of 202 documents relating to Denis George

Date: 1948 - 1996
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the George Family and Adrian Jackson
Object Copyright: © Estate of Denis George
Object Name: Archive series
Object No: ANMS1272

User Terms

    This series of 202 documents relate to the Australian pearl maker Denis George. This collection consists of 1 AWA journal article; 1 envelope and 1 label; 12 magazine articles and 186 newspaper articles on pearling, pearl manufacturers, marine life, and the use of pearl in make-up and pearl jewelry; and 1 transcript of a speech on Seahorses.
    HistoryDenis George (1917-2001), a post-World War II Greek Migrant, was a self-taught pearl maker who found his own way to culture pearls and spent decades from the 1950s to the 1980s experimenting and trying to improve his products. His ambition was to culture a unique Australian pearl. He produced pearls mainly from 'Pinctada maxima' (gold lip pearl) and 'P. Margaritifera' (black lip pearl). He was a maverick in the Australian and Papua New Guinean pearl industry because he refused to collaborate with Japanese pearling companies who dominated pearl culture by keeping their technique secret and forming joint ventures with nationals.

    Denis George was never commercially successful but his achievements were remarkable. Not only did he develop his own way to seed pearl oysters, but he also pioneered the culture of pearls from 'Pteria penguin', a bivalve known as Butterfly Shell which was not then a recognised pearl shell. He was recognised in Japan for his pearling achievements, but was not well known in Australia.

    His efforts extended beyond his own individual interests, in lifelong attempts to establish locally owned and run pearl culture industries in Australia and Indo-Pacific countries. He also strove for recognition of the naturalist William Saville-Kent as the true originator, around 1890, of the cultured pearl technique which the Japanese later claimed as their own and developed as an industry.
    Additional Titles

    Collection title: Denis George Collection

    Web title: Collection of 202 documents relating to Denis George

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