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  1. #1
    Administrator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Kevin Canning's Avatar
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    Default Freshwater Pearl Farm Pictures

    So I've finally gotten around to editing some pics I took while on a trip to tour my suppliers freshwater farms and factory, so I thought I'd post a few for any curious members. I have the one below set as my desktop and if anybody else wants to do the same, I've made the picture a link to the full sized version suitable for a desktop. Let me know what you guys think?



    *Unfortunately with the internet these days I must mention that this image is copy-written and only available for personal use.
    Last edited by Kevin Canning; 06-07-2006 at 05:30 PM.
    Kevin Canning
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  2. #2
    MABE BRAZIL
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    Hi Kevin,
    could you tell me if the freshwater mussels are hung up or are buried into the substrate in this farms.

    Ricardo Cunha Lima

  3. #3
    Administrator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Kevin Canning's Avatar
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    Default

    Hey Ricardo,

    The mussels are suspended only about 1 foot below the surface of the water, although the ponds are very shallow. In the pic below you can see the "baskets" holding 3 mussels each hanging from the rope.

    Kevin Canning
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  4. #4
    Administrator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Kevin Canning's Avatar
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    Default

    and here's a pic of what we pulled out of 1 basket or 3 mussels:



    It gives you an idea of what kind of colors are natural and how rare round freshwater pearls really are.
    Kevin Canning
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  5. #5
    Satine De La Courcel
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    Great Pics!

    Ash

  6. #6
    pearltime
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    Hi Kevin!

    Amazing pictures! You said the waters were shallow. How shallow ,3 feet.? How many people work on the farm etc.? Can you tell us some about your trip?

    Thanks, Karen

  7. #7
    Administrator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Kevin Canning's Avatar
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    Well Karen to be honest I don't know how deep the ponds are, but I assume they are less then 6 feet deep since we used a bamboo stick to "pole" around the ponds. One thing I will say is the smell is almost unbearable and that's coming from someone who grew up around farms.

    While I was visiting the farm no nucleation or harvesting was taking place so there was just one man and his wife living in the shack in the background(in the first pic). The conditions are very spartan, but his job is just to keep an eye on the farm, so he seemed very happy with his relaxed lifestyle.

    The real treat was visiting the factory of my freshwater pearl supplier. I always knew that they had a large operation, but the sheer size of the complex is amazing. Below is a picture of just half of the sorting room, there are rooms just like this one for drilling, stringing and all the other steps:
    Last edited by Kevin Canning; 06-20-2006 at 04:09 AM.
    Kevin Canning
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  8. #8
    MABE BRAZIL
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    Kevin,
    thanks for the information. One more question, do you know if they fertilized the ponds, to incease the algal production.

    Ricardo Cunha Lima

  9. #9
    Zeide Erskine
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    Hi Ricardo,

    They usually fertilize the ponds or patties with pig manure.

    Zeide

  10. #10
    MABE BRAZIL
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    Hi Zeide,
    so it is not necessary to mantain a higher flow water. Kevin said that they keeped 3 animals per float device, it is a rule or is due the shallow waters.
    I saw that the animals produce a wide variety of pearl colours, this variation depends of the region that are enxerted the tissue. And about the prices, they varied too.

    Regards

    Ricardo Cunha Lima

  11. #11
    Zeide Erskine
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    Hi Ricardo,

    How high you want the water level and if or how much you fertilize strictly depends on the species you are culturing the pearls in. The same applies to the color range. Both the position of the nucleus insertion and the location the donor tissue come from impact the final pearl color.

    Zeide

  12. #12
    MABE BRAZIL
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    Zeide,
    do you think, if I control the alimentation (givind a monospecific algal ration) I will control The final pearl colour.

    Ricardo Cunha Lima

  13. #13
    Zeide Erskine
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    Hi Ricardo,

    Yes and no. There have been extensive experiments with color culturing. Algae rich in carotinoids will give the pearls a pink tinge (pink flamingo effect). Dissolving indigo in your pond will at first have no effect but as soon as the affected pearls are exposed to sunlight they will turn various shades of jeans blue. High chlorophyll content in the algae population will turn your resulting pearls shades of green. These organically color-cultured pearls tend to "bleed in the gutter" (i.e. the coloring agent will be absorbed into the string) after drilling and stringing. That can lead to a concentration of coloring agent around the drill hole and give the false impression of them being dyed. I consider this dying anyway but some others do not. Overall species selection of both host and donor mussel and selection of tissue location both for the implant location and donor tissue origin usually have more impact on pearl color. If your cultivation pond is rather small and very shallow you can also alter color with colloidal minerals. These colorations are very stable since they are typically bonded into the nacre rather than suspended in the conchiolin.

    Zeide

  14. #14
    MABE BRAZIL
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    colloidal minerals, like, indeed polically incorrect, silver nitrate...or something more elaborated.

    Ricardo

  15. #15
    Zeide Erskine
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    Hi Ricardo,

    Silver nitrate would be antibiotic and kill the algae, so I would not recommend that for color culturing. You may want to talk to somebody from the chemistry department about possibilities there, but I do not recommend using color culturing. Species and tissue location selection is much more marketable and leads to pearls that can honestly be declared to be of natural color.

    Zeide