From foreign body to piece of jewellery:
The basic process is always the same but the choice of oyster or mussel and slight modifications in the process can determine the type of pearl produced.
Insertion of a Foreign Body.
To begin with the host oyster is very carefully opened and a piece of tissue, from an oyster of the same type, is implanted.
Often, at the same time, a nucleus of mother of pearl is added to the mantel. This is extracted from certain fresh water shells.
The quality of the future pearl is determined by the choice of donor oyster because only those of the highest quality will grow a perfect pearl.
The process of implantation is not an easy one due to the delicate nature of the creature. It is a complex and delicate venture where the he dexterity of the breeder determines the quality and quantity of the pearls harvested.
Growth and Cultivation.
When the mantel and the nucleus are successfully implanted then the oyster can return to its original surroundings.
With optimal conditions and a lot of luck, a perfect pearl will grow.
During the growth phase the oyster is carefully tended.
The breeder will control not only the depth of the water but also the temperature, salinity, current, pollution and the availability of plankton.
The oyster is regularly cleaned to prevent parasites and other growths from forming.
This and many other factors will influence the quality and the growth of the pearl.