Pearl Farming 101 in French Polynesia

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Pearl farming at its best. These are some pictures of the process of pearl farming.  First you have the mussel, than you have to add the seed which is a Mississippi nucleus, a round shell that looks like white marble. With this seed you also add a piece of meat from the lip of the mussel itself, which gives the color to the seed, soon to be a pearl. Because this piece of meat has been cute from a section of the shell that is of this color, this color varies from shell to shell but there is clearly a premium demand for pinks, greens, beige and the unknown bluish peacock. Than you have the daily cleaning with a pressure washer on the exterior of the muscle to keep it clean so it can feed easily, and finally after about 3 years you have the harvest, followed by a polishing of the pearl done with rock salt in a tumbler for about 10 minutes.  You can seed the muscle about 3 times before it gets too old to create a quality pearl, so the mussels life as a pearls producer can be around 9 years before its discarded. .  One thing that few individuals are aware of is that the quality of a pearl is in fact the process of sun bathing a mussel, I kid you not, so the depth in the water of the mussel plays a role in farming, too deep and the sun can’t penetrate the ocean to bath the mussel. The sun plays a huge role in the color quality of the pearl. Another role, and I find to be the most important, the pearl cosmetically speaking picks up much of its color from its surrounding, so the color of the lagoon effects the appearance big time, the current in the lagoon needs to be strong for cleanliness!  In our extensive travel thru French Polynesia, we’ve seen many pearl farms from all regions of and all the inventory stock at each farm has had the color of it’s lagoon written all over it!.  Turns out that the best and most exotic colored pearls have the most exotic colored lagoons, as a pearl is clearly affected by their environment! I have news for you, not all lagoons are created equal, so the mind blowing pearls are actually created where their lagoons are insane. FACT!!  Wait tell you see some of these gems, making myself a very nice ring with a bluish peacock 16.5MM size, that’s massive, thank you very much! That’s a size for rich Japanese, very hard to find and memorizing. The ring will read “A Voyage with my Son”!


~ by crr1962 on August 22, 2010.

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