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Pearls are the most unique one among the other gemstones. While most of the gemstones are formed by being under pressure in the earth’s crust, pearls are naturally formed inside a living being. That shows these pearls are not mined in the same way that other gemstones are. So, how these pearls are harvested?

Here in this blog, we’ll learn about the process of pearl harvest and how much time it takes to form.

Before we move further in details, let’s understand first…

What Exactly Pearl Is?

Pearls are the only gem in the world that formed within a living being. These precious pearls that people have admired since ancient times are produced by Mollusks such as oysters and mussels.

Despite having an appearance in a rich variety of sizes and shapes, the perfect round and white gems become so popular. Pearl gems are famous for their exquisite beauty through their completely distinctive shines and glows.

As pearls are so precious, it generally takes time in formation, to know about this, let’s check…

The Pearl Production Period

Let’s understand the production period through these points;

  • Most of the pearls are cultured pearls and these pearls are harvested from the pearl farm after a duration that may extend from 8 months to 6 years. Akoya pearls are usually takes time to cultured from 8 months to 2 years, and on the other hand freshwater, Tahitian, and South Sea pearls are cultured from 2-6 years.

  • The longer the pearl production time, the thicker the nacre coating and larger the pear is.

As the pearl production period times varies differently, let’s understand…

When Pearls Are Harvested?

Pearls are usually harvested worldwide during the winter. During these cold period, the metabolism of oyster has decreases, slowing down the nacre deposits around the pearls. As the nacre deposits shows in less growth during these colder months, the outer layer of the cultured pearl nacre is enhanced.

When it comes to Cortez Pearls specifically, they are collected right before the beginning of summer, just as the water is ready to warm up. This is done to give the pearls a darker color, which is indicative of an elevated oyster metabolic rate. Avoiding harvest loss owing to summer hurricanes is another consideration.

Now let’s jump to our main question…

How Pearls Are Harvested?

These days, most of the pearls are cultured. This happens because wild pearls are extremely difficult to find and over harvesting occurred in many of the locations where they originate historically. Thus, oysters are raised in perfect conditions by pearl farmers nowadays.

The oyster farmer ensures the oyster is well-fed and stays healthy over the years it takes for pearls to grow. The pearl is sent to a harvester when the time comes to extract it. They will use a surgical device, usually, to carefully open the oyster and extract the pearl.

The oyster is not harmed when a pearl is removed; in fact, it can grow a new pearl inside of itself by inserting a new nucleus. Pearl growers take great care not to injure their oysters during the harvesting process because the pearls produced by older oysters are larger and frequently of superior quality than those produced by first-generation oysters.

The Harvest Process

  • When the pearls are transported from the pearl farm to the coast, the real harvesting process starts. After the animals are removed from their cages or culture ropes, they are carefully cleaned and placed inside crates.

  • After that, each pearl oyster is opened, and the pearl or pearls are removed. The meat and shell of freshwater mussels and Akoya oysters are either thrown away or put to other uses.

  • On the other hand, freshwater mussels and pearl oysters from the South Sea and Tahiti are picked similarly to how nucleation occurs. A new nucleus is inserted into the pearl sac after the mollusks are very slightly opened and a wedge is inserted between their shells by the pearl technician using specialized instruments to remove the pearl.

  • The process can be performed a third time, after which the animals return to the farm to create yet another cultured pearl for a "second harvest". The mollusks are gathered alongside the pearls following the third harvest.

Important To Know:

The harvesting of pearl mostly takes place in remote areas of the world. This happens because oyster only produce in unpolluted water. As the world has seen much pollution levels in recent decades, it becomes so difficult to find where healthy oysters can produce beautiful pearls.

Wrapping Up With:

The payoff for years of hard effort and investment is the harvest of pearls. The harvest usually occurs in the winter when the metabolism of the host mollusks slows down and the nacre platelets thin out due to a drop in deposition. This has been shown to enhance the shine after harvest. So, when you are looking for pearls, keep in mind that their formation is a years-long process that’s why pearls are so precious.

Arisha Jewels
Tagged: Education