No announcement yet.

Tahitian Pearl Farming


  • Tahitian Pearl Farming

    Culturing Tahitian Pearls

    Tahitian pearls are cultured in lagoons surrounded by atolls in French Polynesia using the Pinctada margaritifera mollusk (pearl oyster).

    Collecting the Baby Oysters

    Oysters start their lives as free swimming plankton in the lagoon. After three weeks of swimming they begin to grow shells and search for a surface onto which they can attach. Farmers set out collectors during strategic times of year (usually corresponding to changes in the season) that offer ideal places for the young and vulnerable oysters to seek refuge and mature.

    After around two and a half years the oysters are large enough to start producing pearls. This process is started by a graft, a painstaking procedure similar to surgery. A successful grafter uses sterile and razor-sharp tools, antibiotics, an eye for detail, and a very, very steady hand. The mantle of a living oyster is the organ that produces the splendid iridescence called nacre, for which pearls are valued.

    Grafting The Shells

    Grafting involves transplanting a small piece of mantle from one oyster to another. The graft tissue largely dictates the quality of the pearl. Donor oysters are usually chosen for the beauty of their colors, as their mantle creates the eventual color of the pearl.

    Insertion Of The Nucleus

    The next step in the grafting process is the insertion of a nucleus, the six to eight millimeter ball around which the pearl grows. The Japanese researchers who pioneered the grafting process discovered that the shell of a wild mussel in the Mississippi river basin had the appropriate density necessary for a pearl nucleus, and to this day most nuclei come from this unlikely mollusk. In recent years other nuclei types have been used, notably the very successful M.O.P. beads.
    M.O.P. nuclei are carved from the shells of pearl producing oysters Pinctada margaritifera and Pinctada maxima.

    The Oysters are then Tended for a Year And a Half

    Immediately after the grafting operation the oysters are then suspended on long lines in the clear water of the lagoon for about a year and a half as the pearls inside them form and grow. Finally the oysters are removed and their pearls are gently extracted. A second graft is then performed, this time with a much larger nucleus that roughly corresponds to the size of the extracted pearl.

    At the harvest of this second pearl a third graft of even larger proportions is sometimes performed. Although extremely rare, nuclei up to 18 millimeters in diameter are sometimes used. Unfortunately every successive pearl sees the increasing age of the oyster and the subsequent decline in quality. This is why very large pearls of excellent are quality so rare.

    By Josh Humbert of Kamoka Pearls (

    Related Articles and Forum Threads:
    Last edited by CortezPearls; 03-15-2021, 11:49 PM.
      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