Early pearl cultivation was done by planting a nucleus within wild oysters. Few people then started creating this natural process by artificially implanting tiny pearl mantle piece inside the oyster.
Few others used the beads to create larger pearls quickly and help in controlling its shape.
During that period, a Japanese scientist was able to identify strains of oysters having the best pearl-bearing properties and then focused on using that to produce pearls with high luster, clear with uniform color.
The culturing processes
To start with, technicians will open live pearl oysters and gently implant surgically small shell bead and a tiny mantle tissue piece. Oyster secretes nacre layers around this bead and the substance that will form is the pearl.
Tremendous amount of skill and precision needed for this culturing process.
The nucleated oysters will be returned to sea, which will feed and grow within sheltered bays. With passing of time, the oysters will secrete lustrous nacre layers around implanted bead.
Oysters are moved in warmer waters during winter and the pearl technicians will check water temperature and other feeding conditions daily and move all the oysters for taking advantage of the best growing conditions.
The latest crop of pearls will undergo series of gentle treatments to make jewelry.
Pearls are initially soaked for many days in mild cleaning solution, keeping under powerful fluorescent light, for removing any odours and deposits that they must have accumulated while they were in the ocean.
Pearls will then be bathed in wooden vat of crushed walnut shells. Natural oils from shells provide soft, gentle polish and will not harm the pearl’s surface integrity. Then they are given spa treatments, and pearls are then painstakingly matched.
To find the perfect pearl
Workers need to comb through many of pearls for finding ones which match for shape, size, luster, color and surface quality. Firstly, pearls will be poured into special type of sieves which separate them into different size groups.
Then they are sorted into smaller batches as per shape, overtone, body-color and finally the quality. All these time-intensive, detailed works may take months for completion.
After completing this process, pearls are finally prepared for drilling and mounting. However, before setting the pearl into piece of a fine jewelry, it may undergo more rigorous screening.