A friend sent me some photos that he took in October 2008 at Tahiti Pearl Market farm in Fakarava. Fakarava island lagoon was elected Biosphere from the UNESCO. I was told that the number of pearl farms will not increase, which is excellent news to keep the lagoon safe from excessive production. Some island in the Tuamotu Archipelago are over exploited like Takaroa. See UNESCO link here http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-U...CTION=201.html.
I also received a youtube link of the only 3 stars Hotel in Fakarava, the Maitai Dream Fakarava. When you see the hotel beach, TPM farm is on the right about 800 meters.
The farm can be visited. However, they don't organize tour visit and are not advertised on the web. But if you are interested, you can do a free tour and see the grafters working. Just ask to visit Mr. Francky Tehaamatai Pearl Farm, the locals will show you the direction. The farm director is Jean-Claude. He runs all the 7 farms that TPM owns and speaks English. They are closed Sat & Sun. Maybe one day I will get to see a pearl farm, any farm.
In the photos, you can see various grafting stations designated by colors which did not show in resized pics. Notice in one photo the grafter just harvested a deep, emerald green pearl; and there is a container of keishi next to her right hand. The keishi are small and are sold only in Tahiti at the moment, not the Honolulu store . There are pictures of the cleaning process which is done every 2 months. I realize that Sarah of Kojimapearls and Sheri have posted some photos of Josh's Kamoka farm, which show the cleaning process. But one of the photos here shows a wire cage going through a machine that (I think) the oysters get a "shower" after the manual cleaning.
By the way, he also told me that he saw street vendors who sell loose pearls for US $8- $10, without x-ray papers.
Enjoy. The color of the water is beautiful!
CORRECTION 6-27-09: Cleaning is done every 2 months.