The photographs were taken at the Mikimoto Pearl Museum, Toba, Japan: Oysters are raised in a tank, allowed to attach to fibers, then grown in sea water for two to three years. Growing oysters are suspended in cages hung from rafts.
They feed on plankton. Healthy oysters are selected for pearl cultivation. The bead is prepared. Mikimoto use Pig toe clam shells, from the Mississippi River. Small balls are prepared from pieces of these shells. An example of a mother of pearl bead. Living oysters are wedged open and a piece of mantle lobe harvested from an other oyster, plus a bead, are inserted into the soft tissue. This image shows insertion of mantle tissue and bead.
Here is a labelled version of this image, showing the important components. This image shows the oyster source of mantle tissue, the cut up pieces of mantle tissue, and the mother of pearl beads. A labelled version of this image is given here.
Oysters are then returned to the sea, where they are suspended in cages 7 - 10 feet below the surface. They are maintained and harvested after some time. Source: Mikimoto. Selection and presentation of pearls: Pearls are selected for their size and color hue. Careful color grading is extremely important.
Pearls are then drilled from both sides, often at a place that is slightly flawed. They are then sorted, threated, and marketed. Mabe pearls: Mabe pearls are cultured blister pearls. These are produced by inserting a half bead against the shell of the mollusk, after a layer of nacre has been deposited over the bead, the whole formation is cut out and the nacreous dome cemented onto a mother of pearl bed.
Biwa pearls: Biwa pearls are produced at lake Biwa, Japan using freshwater clams. They are irregular in shape but have good color and luster. Instead of a bead a small square of mother of pearl in inserted into the clam. These pearls require three years to produce good results. Natural or Cultured? Distinction between these can often be made if the pearl is drilled because the size and nature of the seed can be determined.
For cultured pearls, you should see a mm or so beneath the surface. The term "candling" refers to examination of pearls in strong light. This may reveal the mother of pearl bead. If the pearl is undrilled, an excellent method to distinguish cultured from natural pearls is to X-ray them. Because the size of the seed differs, natural pearls ar less dense than most cultured pearls. Information comparing Japanese and Chinese pearls.
Use The majority are strung as necklaces. Some are used in rings. Rejects are used in medicines as a source of calcium. In the 17th century that all changed; a rosary manufacturer from Paris discovered that the sticky material on fish scales could be used to coat glass beads.
Despite its name, the pearly mixture we use to make our pearls is not made of crushed nacre, but, as used by the rosary maker over years ago, it is a highly developed formula made from small marine animal particles such as mussel sand or fish scales. The production of our Mallorca pearls carefully simulates the process by which an oyster makes a natural pearl as closely as is humanly possible and using much the same natural marine materials.
The pearly essence , despite its name, is made from small marine animal particles and guanine crystals extracted from scales on the undersides of certain fish. The tiny artificial core is repeatedly immersed into this mother-of-pearl mixture, then taken out and dried, over and over again, up to 40 times. This amalgamates the pearly essence, turning smaller molecules into larger ones, and essentially sealing each new layer.
Once the pearl has grown to the desired size, shape and symmetry, it is polished and varnished. For other colours and shapes, we add coloured minerals to the bath, thus creating highly natural looking pearls in varying sizes and hues.
Thanks to the elaborate manufacturing process our organic pearls from Majorca are more resilient and robust, and therefore harder wearing than natural pearls. Sweat, perfume and make up do not damage them as easily, nor do fluctuations in temperature, which can have awful effects on natural pearls.
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How are cultured pearls different from natural pearls? Pearls are known to have been used in jewelry for View some images of pearls and organic gems. Check out our organic pearls selection for the very best in unique or custom, handmade pieces from our beaded necklaces shops. Check out our organic pearl selection for the very best in unique or custom, handmade pieces from our beads shops.