||A brief history of pearls
AKOYA PEARL HARVESTING
Many pearl farmers find that it's difficult to grow Akoya cultured pearls. Akoya oysters have a very low survival rate. In fact, fewer than 50 percent of Akoya oysters survive the nucleating process.
How Do Pearl Farmers Nucleate Akoya Oysters?
As with all cultured pearls, pearl farmers need to nucleate "host oysters" in order to get them to produce pearls.
The nucleation process involves the pearl farmer opening the oyster, inserting an irritant - in this case, it is typically a hard-shell bead and mantle tissue from another oyster who has successfully produced a quality pearl - between the oyster's soft tissues and its shell.
Because so few oysters survive this process, and because even those oysters that do survive the process can only be used once, Akoya pearls are rare.
How Long Does it Take an Akoya Oyster to Produce a Pearl?
It usually takes between 10 and 18 months for an Akoya oyster to produce a pearl. Pearl farmers carefully monitor the oysters' living conditions, adding medications, food and nutrients to the water. Oysters are usually raised or lowered in the water to adjust their temperature and to create optimal conditions for pearl production.
How Many Akoya Pearls are High Quality?
Fewer than 5 percent of Akoya pearls harvested each year are considered high-quality specimens. However, most cultured pearl necklaces are made of these beautiful pearls. Pearl farmers harvest more Akoya pearls than any other type of pearl each year, despite the low survival rates of the oysters.
Most Cultured Pearl Necklaces Are Made From Akoya Pearls
Akoya pearls feature a beautiful white color with rose overtones, so they're very desirable in necklaces and other jewelry. In fact, most cultured pearl necklaces are made from Akoya pearls.