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The Know-How of Pearls

It takes three years to produce a pearl. It took over a decade to famous jeweler Mikimoto to master a grafting technique. Steps explaining why such a process…

To make it somewhat simple, you take a ball of 0.8 cm diameter called nucleus from a freshwater mussel from the Mississippi River. This nucleus is then inserted into the muscle of the oyster with a piece of mother-of-pearl (called graft) taken from the inside edge of the oyster (called mantal) that will determine the color of the pearl. The nucleus inserted in the oyster muscle (called pearl sac) is in a protected environment that will allow the pearl creation. The first step of the process includes breeding the oysters. They need to be underwater stations to grow for two years under close watch from natural predators such as animals or seaweeds. Every few months the oysters are taken out of the water to be cleaned before putting them back under water. Regular cleaning is a vital process not only for the survival of the oyster but for future operations. Only after three years the oysters will have grown to a diameter of 10-12 centimeters and will be ready for grafting right after a thermal choc where water temperature shifts.