Pearl Farms – Marge Dawson
Many interesting and different Pearl Farms are scattered around the World. Pearls from rivers and lakes are called ‘freshwater pearls’ while all others are called ‘sea pearls’.
Hazards Pearl Farmers face, include wild storms at sea resulting in loss of crops, ‘Red Tides’ that use up the water’s oxygen, thieves that steal crops and others that blow up coral reefs for the calcium content.
It takes a minimum of 18 months to 2 years years for strong pearl nacre growth. Pearl divers need to continually clean the undergrowth off the oyster shells, growing in heavy wire baskets underwater, so that oysters can feed and grow their pearls.
Different species of oysters produce different colors pearls, for example, Pinctada Maxima with pure white shells produce pure white or gold pearls, while Margaritifera-cumingi are well known for the black pearls of Tahiti and various darker pearls.
Cultivated pearls which emerge in unmarketable colors, are drilled and dyed. Other pearls are treated with Gamma rays, which gives them a darker, metallic look, almost like some Black pearls.
More about the various Pearl Farms
Micronesia Pearls, on a small atoll in the Pacific Ocean, are teaching their locals how to make simple jewelry, while their best pearls are sold internationally.
Pearls Fiji, est. 1999, farm with local oysters in their nutrient-rich waters. Their multi-colored natural variety includes copper, green, pistachio, blues, gold and more.
This pearl farm uplifts its own community by paying dividends to the local village.
The American Pearl Co, in Nashville, TN, est. 1931, Cultivate fresh-water pearls in huge Unio mussels in the Mississippi river in Camden, Tennessee. They form cultured pearls of many different shapes and sizes, not spherical, as mussel shells are too flat.
They utilize the shell for fancy buckles, earrings and more. In early years, they sold the shells to the Pearl Button Industry in Muscatine, Iowa, USA, to make Mother-of pearl buttons, and as nuclei for the pearl culturing trade. There is an interesting Pearl Button Museum in Muscatine.
Jewelmer in the Philippines, produce beautiful gold pearls, using the Pinctada Maxima oysters.
They grow their own baby oysters, called “spats” and even sing to their baby oysters, saying “Happy Babies, bring forth beautiful cultured ‘gold’ pearls”.
The Eyris Blue Pearl Co. in C.C N Z, are using the beautiful, colorful Paua abalones to grow only about 3 Mabé at a time, from which they make beautiful, colorful earrings, pendants and necklaces.
In the rivers of China, ‘Souffle’ pearls are another amazing variety of the colorful freshwater pearls being cultivated. Their methods are very different, They create hollow pearls which are lighter in weight, not having a bead nucleus.
The Oceanographic Inst. at Florida Atlantic University, USA, are culturing pearls, in aquaculture tanks in a laboratory, using Conch shells. Their colors range from dark pinks to paler shades, yellow into golds, browns and white.
Paspaley Pearls, est. in early 1930’s, is one of the oldest pearl cultivating farms. They culture the most beautiful variety of perfectly spherical pearls in the Western oceans of Australia. Using the Pinctada Maxima Oysters, their pearl colors range from pure white to pale pink and silver pearls. These oysters can grow up to ‘dinner-plate’ size over approx. 10 years, and produce multiple harvests.
Read more fascinating stories about the history of pearls and pearl farms in my Bronze Award winning, cross-referenced book, “Pearls of Creation, A-Z of Pearls – 2nd Edition”. The contact details of the pearl Farmers featured in my book, are included.
My book pays tribute to God, for His Creation of the waters of the World, and the life therein.
Pearls of Creation ~ A-Z of Pearls
2nd Edition with Bronze Award.