How are Pearls Harvested

August 11, 2017 by Kiesha Joseph

Knowing how pearls are harvested isn’t necessary if you’re looking to buy some pearl jewelry, but it’s definitely interesting. What is a pearl? How are pearls made? Pearls are unique among gemstones. While most gems are formed by being under pressure in the earth’s crust, pearls are actually formed inside of living beings. That means that they are not mined the same way that other gems are. So, how are pearls harvested?

How are Pearls Harvested: Cultured Pearls

These days, most pearls are cultured. That’s because wild pearls are extremely difficult to find, and many areas where they form were over harvested in past centuries. So, pearl farmers today cultivate oysters in ideal conditions.

Pearls take years to form, and during that time the farmer makes sure that the oyster is fed and healthy. When it is time to remove the pearl, it is sent to a harvester. They will very carefully open the oyster and remove the pearl, often using a surgical instrument.

Removing a pearl does not harm the oyster – in fact, they can then insert a new nucleus and grow another pearl inside of the same oyster. The pearls grown by older oysters are larger and often of a higher quality than first-generation pearls, so pearl farmers take great care not to harm their oysters in the harvesting process.

A Delicate Practice

The process behind how pearls are harvested requires a careful touch and plenty of patience. When you purchase cultured pearls, you are not only purchasing the natural beauty of this gem, you are also taking advantage of the professional ability of the farmers and harvesters that cultivated and farmed it.

Where and how are pearls harvested? Pearl harvesting mostly takes place in remote areas of the world. This is because oysters only produce pearls in unpolluted water. As the world has seen higher and higher levels of pollution in recent decades, it has become more and more difficult to find areas where healthy oysters can produce beautiful pearls. This means that many pearl farmers and pearl lovers are heavily involved in the environmental movement – they don’t want to see this beautiful gem disappear forever.

So, when you are looking for pearls, keep in mind that their creation is a years-long process. And, the pearl that you purchase may well be part of a “family” of pearls, multiple generations having been produced by the same oyster. It’s truly an amazing process, and we at The Pearl Source are continually impressed by the high quality of pearls that farmers around the world are able to culture and harvest, all while keeping their oysters healthy.