Our Story

Future pearl farmers, 1971


Kamoka pearl farm is located on the atoll of Ahe, a ring of coral that juts a few feet above sea level and encircles a 75-square-mile lagoon. Ahe is located 300 miles north east of Tahiti in the Tuamotu Archipelago. The kindness of the people and the surreal nature of the sea, land and sky make Ahe the essence of a tropical paradise.

The Humbert family sailed to Ahe in the early 1970's on a homemade, ferro-cement hull sailboat. We immediately fell in with the islanders who offered us a beautiful sandy islet where we could settle down and build a palm-leaf house. Loic, the eldest son (who was five years old) went to the only elementary school on the island but Josh was only two and too young for school and thus he started a lifelong love affair with the ocean and its inhabitants.

Josh Humbert on Ahe


Patrick, the dad and Kamoka's founder, fished with the locals and converted the center of the sailboat into a freezer that could transfer Ahe's fresh fish to the market in Tahiti. Before this this time, the islanders had to sell their fish to the supply ships at prices that hardly paid for their time and efforts. Bring the fish directly to Tahiti made their work much more lucrative.

Unfortunately all was not well in paradise forever; the sailboat saw its tragic end on a reef and the Humbert family split up soon after. Patrick settled in Tahiti (where Josh and Loic continued to spend their summers) and both young boys returned to California with their mother, Diana around the time Josh started kindergarten.

But the family always kept a connection to Ahe. In 1991 Patrick and Loic returned and founded Kamoka Pearl. Patrick has always been a man of the sea; his keen understanding of it told him great things could come from the nutrient-rich water near the mouth of Ahe's lagoon. Josh joined the project a year after its founding as Loic returned to the US. At this point Josh was halfway through his marine biology university studies but he decided to quit school when he realized that he could learn what he wanted firsthand in the South Pacific next to his father.


Yvon Chouinard at Kamoka pearl farm

Soon after settling in Ahe, Josh became friends with an experienced Japanese grafting technician and learned the building blocks of the trade. A desire to produce beautiful pearls was born and he embarked on a life-long voyage of research and experimentation. It wasn't long until other grafters were trying to learn his secrets as Kamoka's pearls rivaled the industry's best.

In 1995 Josh's long-time girlfriend Celeste moved to the farm. They built a one-room house using a similar ferro cement construction the Humberts had used to build their sailboat in the 1970s. Soon they had two children who grew up on Ahe’s clean air, fish and coconuts.


In 2002 Patrick sold the farm to Josh and moved to New Zealand. Josh and Celeste ran the farm for several years until Ahe’s call became too strong for Patrick and he moved back - he’s now in charge of the day to day operations again. Meanwhile Josh, Celeste, the kids moved to Portland, Oregon for the kid’s education and to work on establishing a retail arm worthy of Kamoka’s history, high quality standards and dedication to eco and socio sustainability.