Culturing Tahitian Pearls
By Josh Humbert of Kamoka Pearls (KamokaPearls.com).
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...
Kokichi Mikimoto's contribution to the cultured pearl industry cannot be overstated. While he may not have single-handedly invented the industry, he played a pivotal role in its development and widespread acceptance of the Japanese akoya pearl. Born in Toba City, Japan, in 1858, Mikimoto's father sold noodles for a living. Little did he know that his passion for pearls would shape his destiny and revolutionize the world of jewelry.
Japanese Akoya Pearls is a term often used as a misnomer to describe all cultured akoya pearls. This is no longer an industry accepted term as akoya pearls are now also grown in China, South Korea, Vietnam and Australia. Japanese akoya pearls is the correct term applied to akoya pearls grown in Japan, and often applied to akoya pearls that have been processed in Japan, regardless of provenance.
An example of a very fine akoya pearl strand, Pearl Paradise
Hanadama is a Japanese word for "Spherical Flower" and is the term used to describe high quality and highly valued akoya pearls from any given harvest. These pearls are separated from typical class grading prior to auction and are sold as individually separated lots.
Although there is no standardized, definitive grading system that accurately represents and compares the value characteristics of akoya pearls, there is a one-word description of the best akoya pearl...
CBSB "Fireball" Pearl Culture and the Return of the Biwa Pearly Mussel
by Jeremy Shepherd and Doug Fiske
In April of this year, PearlParadise.com CEO Jeremy Shepherd and GIA writer Doug Fiske traveled with GIA photographer Valerie Power to the Weitang and Zhuji regions, centers of the Chinese freshwater pearl industry. For nearly a week, we interviewed farmers, traders, and even the chairman of one of the largest freshwater pearl production companies. The information we gathered gives a...