Why are larger pearls harder to grow than smaller pearls?


Community member
Jun 16, 2014
Why are larger pearls harder to grow than smaller pearls? Is it because larger nuclei are rejected more than are small nuclei? Is it because the larger a pearl, the lower quality the nacre (as a result of being chalky, etc.)? Is it because the nacre isn't deposited evenly, leading to a very irregular baroque pearl, rather than one thats far rounder? thanks.
It takes longer to grow a larger pearl. You can't put a large bead into a first graft, so either way, you have to wait for a large pearl or wait for the mollusk to be big enough to accept the implant on another go-round. Time = size = more cost. Degradation of the nacre quality doesn't happen until they are older and going through successive grafts and is more prevalent in saltwater mollusks. Some mollusks produce great nacre even when very old.

For someone new to the experience, I suspect it would be very hard to wait for larger pearls. You will want to find out what happened so you can use the knowledge for future harvests and to have some gratification for your experimentation and hard work. :)

You never answer my question about where you want to grow your mollusks. Will you grow them in a tank, or is there a body of water in your area that won't be too cold?
Two more reasons . more time for something to go wrong for a larger pearl, and, by volume, a larger pearl takes more and more nacre as it grows.
Thanks for the reply. I'm hoping to grow a small quantity in a tank. There are plenty of obstacles to overcome before I can get started.
Great. Learn as much as you can. There is also a book called "The Pearl Oyster", Southgate and Lucas. For your purposes, it is a better book. (But, for anyone not expecting to grow pearls, the Strack book is the BEST.)

"This book is a comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the biology of pearl oysters, their anatomy, reproduction, genetics, diseases, etc. It considers how they are farmed from spawning and culturing larvae in hatcheries to adults in the ocean; how various environmental factors, including pollution affect them; and how modern techniques are successfully producing large numbers of cultured pearls. This is the ultimate reference source on pearl oysters and the culture of pearls, written and edited by a number of scientists who are world experts in their fields."