||A brief history of pearls
SOUTH SEA PEARL CULTIVATION
South Sea pearls form in the "White Lipped" oyster Pinctada maxima. Because most South Sea pearls are cultivated from these wild, hand-picked oysters, strict quotas have been established to prevent their depletion.
Pearl-farm divers go 10 to 80 meters deep in search of healthy and only mature oysters for growing South Sea pearls. Though most South Sea pearl-oyster divers today use modern scuba equipment, in the Philippines, oysters are still routinely collected by "free-divers" who use no equipment at all. Some South Sea pearling operations employ pearling ships, unique to South Sea pearl cultivation.
Nucleated South Sea pearl oysters are nurtured in isolated bays of the purest water, far distant from industrial areas.
After 3 or 4 months, each oyster is x-rayed to confirm that its nucleus has not been rejected. Oysters with nuclei still inside are returned to the water to continue cultivation, a period that lasts 2 to 3 years.