What Are Cultured Pearls?
I found this interesting article about the history, and making of Cultured Pearls.
By Ravindra D.
Cultured Pearls Roman and Greek History
We all know that Pearl gemstone is a symbol of royalty and hence it was used as a gift. It is mentioned in Greek and Roman History. Pearl gemstone was known to be very expensive and it was worn with prestige in Roman era. Pearls were actually a status symbol. It was believed in Roman history that Pearls should be worn by people who can actually afford such expensive jewelry and hence it became a symbol of royalty. The story goes as follows - Cleopatra who was the last queen of Egypt had a bet with king Marc Antony saying that she could offer the most expensive meal. Listening to this king Antony had just put a bowl of vinegar in front of Cleopatra. And he started wondering how she could make out the most expensive meal out of just vinegar. Then Queen Cleopatra took out one of her pearl earrings and she put it in the sour water making the meal pretty expensive. One pearl earring of queen was known to be equivalent two thousand pounds of gold. Hence she made an expensive meal and won the bet over king Antony. Pearls were given great importance in Greeks as well. Pearl jewelry was a must in each and every wedding in Greek people. Arab people denote them as a treasure to be kept in paradise.
How Cultured Pearls are formed?
Pearls are produced by mollusks, but not all mollusk produce pearls. If we look at the scientific details of pearl producing mollusk, then it belongs to the class Conchifera. It is known as phylum in biological terms more precisely in Zoology. There is a Bivalia class of Mollusca family which actually produces pearls. They are a part of Bivalia class which means they have two halves connected together with a hinge. All the species of Conchifera phylum produce formations which look like pearls but they are not exactly the pearls. Some of them do form pearls. The shell and mantle are the two important parts needed to identify a particular mollusk. Mantle tissue is more important than shell while choosing the mollusk for pearl formation. In the Pearl trading market, there is an incorrect belief that pearls are produced from Oysters. Even if oysters produce pearls they are not as effective as those produced by mollusk and have very low market value. The body structure of bivalve mollusk enhances the chances for pearl formation. It is open to environment with a continuous flow of water from inside and outside. Unlike gastropods they are not much mobile, thus proving ideal for pearl formation. Pearl cultivation involves various processes such as searching good species which can produce pearls and those are bivalve mollusk. Next comes the pearl farming which is followed by pearl nucleus formation, harvesting and various treatments done.
Various processes of Pearl formation
After collecting good species of mollusks next process is of pearl farming. Pearl farming is done on various pearl farms. In olden days, farmers used to collect oysters from different water reservoirs and then nucleate them accordingly. Now, farmers are using modern techniques for collecting oysters. They collect some good quality oysters and nurture them on their pearl farm. Their sperm and eggs are collected by farmers after which the fertilization process is done explicitly by farmers using the sperm and eggs. Hence after fertilization, larvae are formed and they are allowed to flow freely in water. After sometime larvae get attached to some rock and oysters are formed. The foreign body is inserted in the mantle tissue of oyster for nucleation process. This has to be done by a technician. Once the foreign body is inserted then nucleation starts and the oysters are allowed to rest for a month or so. Some oysters recover fast while some die as well.