Our oysters are imported from approved Oyster Farms in China, which have been cultured to produce one pearl in each (although on the very rare occasion one oyster may produce two pearls!). They are closely monitored and cared for for many years, until they’re old enough to be discharged and we import them into the UK.
We use cultured Akoya oysters, which are real saltwater oysters and produce round-shaped pearls between 6mm and 8mm in size.
Why We Use Cultured Oysters
Not every oyster in the sea forms a pearl, in fact, finding organic oysters in the wild which have naturally formed pearls inside is quite rare, leading to organic pearls being sold for high prices. Without a huge budget, not many people would be able to afford a pearl set of their own, until now…
Technology now allows us to give oysters that little kickstart they need to commence their process of forming a pearl within their shell.
Culturing oysters allows farmers to adopt oysters, give them the little push to start forming a pearl, offer them the perfect growing environment in terms of the water quality, temperature and feeding and in return, the oyster provides a real pearl which allows more people the chance to buy and own these precious pieces of jewellery.
Pearls formed from cultured oysters are still real pearls and to the untrained eye can look identical to organically found non-cultured pearls.
Here at PearlyOysters.com we use Akoya Oysters (pinctada fucata martensii) as they are known to be the most abundant variety and produce high-lustre pearls in natural cream, rose and silver colours.
However, it is common practice for oyster farmers to treat a percentage of oysters with differing colours, which in turn makes the oyster produce pearls in a wide range of colours such as the popular black coloured pearls as well as shades of blue, red, purple and green – offering a pearl that suits any mood and any personality!
How Are Organic & Natural Pearls Formed?
Both natural and organic pearls are formed in the same way inside an oyster, caused by a small piece of debris making it’s way inside the shell. The only difference is that cultured oysters get a kickstart to the process, while natural occurrences are very rare. The oyster farmer injects a tiny bead (normally a shell bead) or similar round object into the oyster’s shell.The oyster thinks that the inserted debris is a nuisance within its home and so the
The oyster thinks that the inserted debris is a nuisance within its home and so the mollusk (the living part of the oyster inside the shell) deposits layers of nacre (an organic-inorganic composite material) around the shell bead in order to keep it separate and to trap it from the mollusk. The nacre covers the shell bead over and over, adding many layers throughout the oyster’s life, disintegrating or entombing the shell bead inside. In other words, the oyster creates a separate shell around the debris using nacre, and over time, more layers of nacre are added which forms a lustrous, colourful pearl.