Mab? pearls are the easiest to culture and they are cultured in all species that happen to be around. The most attractive ones come from abalones (haliotis), pteria penguin and pteria sterna. In Brazil you may also have pinctada atropurpurea that produces red pearls. Culturing mab?s in pinctada atropurpurea will probably create quite a splash on the market, especially in heart shapes.
P. Colymbus is nice enough, but most retail buyers go for mab?s because they want big pearls and I do not quite see how to do that with p. colymbus. P. imbricata is also not going to give you especially attractive mab?s, but if it is more easily available, why not. I have not heard of hatcheries in Brazil, so you may have to start raising your own first. Since you are wont to have to do that anyway, why not breed exotics. That will not only help the species multiply (through spat spread, especially since mab?s are not grown in the gonad) but also give you rare items that advertise themselves. I would also highly recommend experimenting with mantle tissue nucleation. I have a hunch that solid nacre marine pearls are going to make quite a splash should they occur on the market and probably at least some of the pearl marketers on this forum are going to be interested in selling them for you. For the technical information needed to get started in the venture I recommend the thread Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Pearl Culturing. It is in the sub-forum Cultured Pearls and has a link to the best and most detailed study on the subject.
Last edited by Zeide Erskine; 09-25-2006 at 10:23 PM.
I intend to produce round pearl in P. imbricata, but as I will build a hatchery I looking for other potentials species and sub products. I saw that P. atropurpurea exists in Brazil, and I will seek for it. About exotic species, its difficult here, because now exist some laws and regulamnetations that inhibited the importation of foreign species.
Pinctada atropurpurea will produce pearls as exotic as they get. If you add pteria penguin and pteria sterna and maybe placuna to use with tissue nucleation, pearl collectors will line up years before harvest to buy them.
Tissue nucleation works in all shell-bearing mollusk species. Pinctada also accept beads with the tissue, but just tissue works with all shell-bearing mollusks and the success rate is very high. On the positive side, you do not have to worry about rejection or mortality and your pearls will be solid nacre, on the negative side, your pearls are going to be mostly off round. Culturing in exotic species will more than offset the shape disadvatage and probably turn it into a positive factor. If the harvesting weren't such a problem, you may even use tissue nucleation in tridaca maxima. Now that would yield some large and highly exotic beauties.
You may find some more ideas of what is available for hatching here:
As a buyer and designer, I just love the off round shapes. Not that I don't like round. Round is fine, but the off rounds, potatos, nuggets, etc are just adorable. They have character and personality - just like the old-tyme wilde pearls.
I think the bead implants in an exotic species would have all those bands and tails issues. I really do not like that look at all.
Zeide, the mortality is lower when they don't have breast, er I mean bead, implants? You mean the oysters would be happier (less stressed) making off-round and potatos than adjusting to a big chunk of American mussel shell plopped in their gonads?
That's right. No bead job, no die. Of course if you overnucleate (20 at a time or so) that just might do them in. However, the pearls would all grow together and that's not very pretty either. Also, keep in mind that the mussel can only grow so much nacre at a time. So, the more you nucleate, the less nacre to go around and typically the host is simply filling up the difference with conchiolin which makes the pearls more opaque. The best way to go is to nucleate more mussels but with only one or two mantle pieces and let them grow just a little bit longer.
The size, shape, and location of the tissue implant all affect the outcome. The age of the donor mussel also is important. The older the donor mussel, the lower the relative content of conchiolin secreting cell clusters. That means tissue from older mussels gives you higher grade pearls. There is a catch, however. The tissue that forms the pearl sac only lives as long as the donor mussel would have lived. That means, if you use tissue from a mussel that is very old and about to die anytime soon, the pearl sac in the host shell will die soon, too. In tissue nucleation you can implant younger mussels than with bead nucleation and for that grow the pearls for longer. One has to gauge the residual life expectancy of the donor mussel, too, though. The location of the tissue within the host shell will show you the color and quality of nacre this particular patch of tissue will produce. Larger tissue grafts close faster (that means form pearl sacs faster) and make bigger pearls. If the original tissue graft is circular, the pearl has a greater chance to be more rounded. Implants in the dome of the host shell make lighter, rounder pearls and those closer to the hinge make more intensely colored pearls.