Pearls are those pristine, precious dewdrops that continue to fascinate you no matter how many times you look at them. They are the most beautiful gems available to us and their stunningly aesthetic beauty is the reason why they are so popular around the world. Have you ever wondered how do these beautiful and awe-inspiring pearls originate? While the natural pearls are simply found in seas shells, the cultured pearls are made with an intricate process, over a period of time. The making of pearls is as smooth and delicate a process as the pearls themselves. In case you are wondering how pearls are made, read the article to understand their cultivation process
Pearl Cultivation Process
Natural pearls are formed when a type of microscopic irritant makes its way into the mussel or oyster accidentally and settles inside the shell.The irritant can be a particle of food, a piece of shell, bacteria or even a sand granule. The protective process begins when mussel or oyster secretes nacre that covers the irritant. The nacre is continuously secreted, which keeps forming layers over the irritant. This results in the formation of a pearl. This process takes years before a pearl is formed.
Sea Water Cultured Pearls
The making of cultured pearls involves selection of healthy parent oysters to breed quality oysters. The oyster must have a thick shell and good appearance from the interior. Baby oysters take about 2 years to reach maturity. During this period of time, they are safely kept in holding sea buckets, at locations where fresh water enters the sea. This process helps in providing nutrients to the oysters. The next step involves inserting the base of nucleus in the oyster, around which the pearl will develop. This base is made from pigtoe, a freshwater mussel shell. The pigtoe has a very good chance of success in the Akoya oyster, because of the similarity between the two.
The oysters are set on the land for a short period of 30 minutes. They open their shells during this time. When the shells open, the nucleus is surgically transferred to the inside of the oyster. The oyster containing nucleus is then put back into the sea basket. The sea basket provides mobility to the oysters, when they are to be guarded against predators or variations in temperature, which can adversely affect the pearl formation process. Sudden temperature changes can fiddle with the quality of pearl or even cause the oysters to die. The pearl inside the oyster takes around 2-4 years to grow completely. The exact cultivation time depends upon the desired quality and size of the pearl.
Freshwater Cultured Pearls
Fresh water pearls are also created in the same way as sea water pearls. The only difference between the two is that in case of the latter, the nucleus for the pearl is made from mantle tissue, instead of the pigtoe. More than one piece of mantle may also be inserted for the growth of the pearl.