Pearls are known to the world as the oldest gem of impeccable perfection. Created from living mollusks that live in water bodies like oceans, rivers and lakes, the pearl is mostly naturally produced. The pearl is formed by a process that begins when the irritant enters the mollusks on the mantle tissue. In response, mollusks produce mother-of-pearl, a thick organic liquid that accumulates for some time on a stable irritant material to form a pearl. In the normal beading process, one pearl at a time, which differs from cultured pearls formed by nucleation, is created to obtain more pearls.
The production of cultured pearls takes place on well-run farms that produce hundreds of thousands of pearls, which are then shipped to various markets around the world. In the initial process of pearl farming, mollusks are assembled and sown with irritants. In the past, farmers collected these mollusks from their natural habitats, but over the years they have developed a program to grow mollusks that are then used to produce pearls. Just as is the case with arable farming, the cultivation of pearls depends greatly on agricultural skills, weather conditions, and other natural and artificial factors. Negative effects on business result in a reduction in the number of pearls produced, which affects the price of pearls in the market.
Natural pearls as opposed to pearl growing
Pearls created by the cultivation process should guarantee the market a constant supply of the desired pearl. Japanese researchers named Tatsuhei Mise, Kokichi Mikimoto and Tokishi Nishikawa have discovered modern processes of growing pearls in salt and fresh water. Today it can be said with certainty that the process of growing pearls is the main source of pearls compared to the original process of shaping natural pearls.
Sea pearl formation
Also known as the formation of pearls in salt water, the formation of pearls in seawater takes place in mollusks found in salt waters. The process of marine farming occurs when the reproductive organ of sea oysters is grafted with grain, which has an irritating effect on the mantle tissue. The process of grain formation takes years after which the harvest takes place. There are three types of sea cultured pearls, which include Akoya pearls, Tahitian pearls and South Sea pearls.
Production of freshwater pearls
The process of growing freshwater pearls yields most of the pearls seen on the market today. They come from pearl-forming mollusks that live in freshwater bodies and come in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes. The world leader in the production of freshwater pearls has been China since the 13th century. More recently, this has been seriously affected by high levels of pollution that have reduced the number of mollusks that produce soft pearls. Around the world, the creation of high-quality freshwater pearls has been affected by environmental disasters caused by global warming.
The quality of pearls
Much of the pearls found in the markets are cultivated, while others are naturally made without any human interference. Certain properties have a great influence on the quality of the pearls formed, such as the size, color, shape, luster, type of pearls and the thickness of the mother-of-pearl that is present in the process of creating pearls. Different pearl treatments are encouraged on pearls to obtain high quality pearls like dyeing, radiating and enhancing the shine.