A Brief History of Pearls: Akoya Pearl Harvesting

  A brief history of pearls


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.

How pearls form in oysters
How pearls are harvested
How pearls brought to market
Know your Akoya pearls
Akoya Pearl Cultivation
Akoya Pearl Harvesting
Akoya Pearl Processing
Akoya Pearl Evaluation
Quality Factor One: Luster
Luster of Akoya Pearls
Quality Factor Two: Surface
Surface of Akoya Pearls
Quality Factor Three: Shape
Shape of Akoya Pearls
Quality Factor Four: Color
Color of Akoya Pearls
Quality Factor Five: Size
Size of Akoya Pearls
Know your South Sea pearls
South Sea Pearl Cultivation
South Sea Pearl Harvesting
South Sea Pearl Processing
South Sea Pearl Quality Evaluation
Luster of South Sea Pearls
Surface of South Sea Pearls
Shape of South Sea Pearls
Color of South Sea Pearls
Size of South Sea Pearls
Know your Tahitian pearls
Tahitian Pearl Cultivation
Tahitian Pearl Harvesting
Tahitian Pearl Processing
Tahitian Pearl Quality Evaluation
Luster of Tahitian Pearls
Surface of Tahitian Pearls
Shape of Tahitian Pearls
Color of Tahitian Pearls
Size of Tahitian Pearls
Gift Giving Occasions

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