Freshwater pearls are one among the four primary types of pearls. These pearls require a gentle, calm, stable and a peaceful environmental condition to grow. Generally, these types of pearls are cultured in Japan, U.S. and recently in China during the season of spring and autumn. Since the weather and water temperature are calm during this period of the year.
Selecting the right mussel and oyster
Since freshwater pearls are grown using organic hosts like freshwater mussels, the pearl can grow ten times bigger than those formed naturally by the saltwater oyster.
Pure and multiple pearls can be grown because the mussel does not have a shell bead nucleus. However, it takes both skill and luck to get the desired pearl. Find more about the culturing process of your favourite pearl.
Freshwater pearl harvesting
It takes 2-5 years of time to cultivate a pearl. Following are the steps followed during this period of time –
- Selection of right mussel
- Soaking them in a basin of water for several days
- Transferred to a shallow tub, but water is kept enough to allow the mussel to breathe.
- Grafting of the mussel by a piece of tissue from the mantle. In this process, mantle tissue is inserted into the host instead of a bead. A freshwater oyster can produce 32 pearls in one culture cycle since it can be grafted from both sides.
- The shape of donor tissue is changed carefully using a needle so as to create a smooth pearl sac for comfort and nurturing.
- Oysters are suspended in calm, peaceful and comfortable water. A stable environment proper and healthy growth of the pearl. The most pearls that float in water are attached to barges while some are hung using nylon nets.
- Nurturing of the implanted oyster.
- Checking water temperature after and before feeding, examining the pearl health and cleaning the pearl at regular interval are essential steps.
- After culturing, pearls are taken out of the oyster.
- Pearls are then washed, dried and separated according to their quality
- Polished in water and salt for more shine. This process is not applied for all the pearls. Only the pearls with low lustre undergo this process.
Your pearl is ready!