No announcement yet.

Saltwater Pearls


  • Saltwater Pearls

    Saltwater Pearls Defined

    A saltwater pearl is a calcium concretion (can be nacreous or non-nacreous) produced by a saltwater mollusk that lives in a saline/marine environment. These pearls can be either natural (no human intervention in its production and a product of a fishing operation) or cultured (produced with human intervention by means of pearl farming).

    Natural Saltwater Pearls

    Traditionally, most pearls were fished from saltwater-dwelling mollusks in the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the coastal waters of India and Japan. These saltwater pearls were referred to as marine pearls. Natural saltwater pearls are still found, but their yield is too small to amount to hold a significant market share.

    According to pearl expert Peter Balogh, the annual harvest of natural pearls in the Persian Gulf (per DANAT) is of 7 kilos (15.43 lbs), whereas cultured pearl production -per year- is of around 40 tons (80.000 pounds)!
    From Peter Balogh's FB account

    Saltwater Pearls Today

    Pearls cultured in mollusks inhabiting saline waters are considered saltwater pearls. The three most common types of saltwater pearls are Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea pearls.

    Shape of Saltwater Cultured Pearls

    Saltwater cultured pearls tend to have rounder shapes than freshwater cultured pearls. This is due to the fact that saltwater mollusks are universally bead-nucleated, so, unless the saltwater pearl is a "keshi pearl", it will have a bead core within it.

    Even with the bead inside guiding its shape, most cultured pearls today have plenty of different shapes that have been categorized in broad terms as:
    • Round and Near-Round
    • Semi-Baroques or Symmetrical
    • Baroques or Assymetrical

    Saltwater Pearl Farming

    Saltwater pearls are cultured by prying open the mollusk by 2-3 centimeters (about 1-1.5 inches). A technician then uses a scalpel to make a tiny incision on the gonad (reproductive organ) of the mollusk. A small bead nucleus is then inserted into the oyster's gonad and this is then followed by a tiny piece of mantle tissue (from a donor pearl oyster), which is then placed on top of it.
    Seeding a Rainbow Lip Oyster

    The epithelial cells in this mantle tissue will -hopefully- begin to multiply, growing around the nucleus and producing a "pearl sac". This is where the pearl grows.
    After a period of convalescence, the pearl oysters are taken to the farm for a time frame (between 8 to 36 months) for the pearl to grow and then the pearls are harvested.

    This process is the same for all saltwater pearls -with small variations- cultured with a bead nucleus today.

    Related Articles:
    Last edited by CortezPearls; 03-23-2021, 06:22 PM. Reason: Improved the article
      Posting comments is disabled.





    Latest Articles


    • A review: The History of Pearls in the Gulf of California, Mexico PART 2
      by CortezPearls
      The arrival of the Iberian Conquerors

      The Native Nations had no real interest in establishing a commercial venture in pearl fishing and we understand little to nothing of the way they fished for pearls, since most of the information was either lost or destroyed during the conquest of Mexico. The rich plunder of the Conquistadores was sent to Spain and later dispersed all over Europe. The most significant information we have on the subject comes from the period of colonization of northwestern...
      04-05-2021, 03:26 PM
    • A review: The History of Pearls in the Gulf of California, Mexico - PART 1
      by CortezPearls
      A review: The History of Pearls in the Gulf of California, Mexico
      By Douglas McLaurin-Moreno

      Since unrecorded time, man has obtained many bounties from the world’s oceans: food, shells, corals, sponges, seaweeds, and the most desirable of all of these were the beautiful mother-pf-pearl shells and their valuable treasure, Pearls.

      Mexico has four species of pearl oysters inhabiting its coasts, two -the larger sized- on the Pacific side: the Panamic Black Lip...
      03-18-2021, 03:04 PM
    • About
      by Kevin Canning
      More than 10,000 Members Strong
      Founded in 2003 with the addition of a community forum in 2004, is a friendly group of pearl dealers, farmers, traders, wholesalers, hobbyists, authors, and consumers. With members from around the world engaged in daily conversation, is the largest community of pearl enthusiasts in the world.

      World's Only Open Pearl Discussion Forum exists for the benefit of consumers and the trade. With the world...
      07-24-2014, 07:33 PM
    • The French Blue
      by WayneCMS
      By Richard Wise I was fortunate enough to get an early Kindle edition of Richard Wise's newest masterpiece The French Blue. I also own a copy of Wise's Secrets of the Gem Trade, and it is one of the very few gem books that I've read cover to cover, not just skipping ahead to the sections about pearls. The French Blue is a completely different kind of work. It is a novel that begs to be read slowly, but once one becomes entranced in the story, it is nearly impossible to put down. Not for the f...
      07-21-2014, 10:36 AM
    • Forum Policies and Rules of Conduct
      by WayneCMS, its owners, moderators and administrators reserve the right to:
      • Remove or move any content for any reason at our sole discretion
      • Modify or edit any content for any reason at our sole discretion
      • Suspend or ban any members for any reason at our sole discretion
      Use of will constitute acceptance of the following policies and rules of conduct. These policies and rules of conduct may change periodically. The forum on is presented "as is" with no w...
      07-21-2014, 10:31 AM
    • Pearl World - The Publication
      by WayneCMS
      Pearl World Journal is no longer being Published!

      Pearl World Journal

      Devoted to covering the pearl industry, Pearl World: The International Pearling Journal is the only English language publication of its kind. For 17 years the journal has covered every aspect of the pearling industry, from harvests, production, auctions, wholesaling, and education, to retail designing end consumer marketing.

      The Publication The journal is published solely for those inter...
      07-21-2014, 10:29 AM