10 Mar 2014

Rural Fiji women learns how to make jewelleruy from pearl shell

3:06 pm on 10 March 2014

Women in Fiji's remote Ba area are learning how to craft mother of pearl shells into jewellery, as a way to earn a living and stop the reliance on Asian imported tourist trinkets.

A joint University of the South Pacific, James Cook and Adelaide Universities' study on the pearl industry found that while pearls were making a lot of money, their shells were not being utilised.

The researchers have funded the purchase of equipment to teach 10 women from Ba to cut, grind and polish the shells to create jewellery.

The president of the Ba Womens Forum, Dr. Maria Doton, says the goal is to teach the women a skill, so they can make money themselves, and eventually pass the knowledge on to other women.

"In that way we can create employment and of course we can generate income for these women. Our dream is to have something that is genuinely made in Fiji because even if you go to the shops it's written 'Made In Fiji' but honestly deep inside we know that they are not. So this time we can be assured that it will be genuinely made by our women in Fiji".

The president of the Ba Womens Forum, Dr. Maria Doton.