Freshwater pearls are products produced by oysters in rivers or lakes. Freshwater pearls can be grounded into powder as the main ingredient of high-grade cosmetics because of the precious ingredients of pearls, it can also be used as accessories such freshwater pearl necklace. Natural pearls are especially precious because of their scarcity. Apart from natural pearls, freshwater pearls are mainly produced by artificial cultivation. How should freshwater pearls be cultivated? Today we will talk about the cultivation of freshwater pearls.
Freshwater pearls are real pearls that are grown on pearl farms using freshwater mussels. Since mussels are the organic hosts, which can naturally grow 10 times larger than saltwater oysters, the cultured freshwater pearls are very pure because mussels contain no shell bead nucleus, each mussel can produce multiple pearls per cycle and that the entire process involves far less advanced surgical skills than ocean pearl cultivation. This helps to make these pearls easier to cultivate and increasing their freshwater pearls value.
Pearl farming generally consists of four steps:
1. Obtain oysters for freshwater pearl farming
During the harvesting season, people dive 1-10 meters deep to collect oysters, and then send them to Pearl farms, scattering them on shallow basement that is not occupied by other mollusks. They are completed in early autumn and will not be disturbed until the next spring. But only healthy mollusks can accept the mantle and use it in the production of cultured pearls.
There is another way to obtain oysters for Freshwater Pearl Farming. The oyster larvae are allowed to freely float around in the water. Once they reach a few weeks old, they are moved to the “wild". There, they will attach themselves to a stable rock.
Within the next few months, when the larvae grow into little baby oysters. they will be collected and then moved to a separate part of the farm. There, the baby oysters are nurtured for about 1-2 years, until they are ready for nucleation.
2. Implant the nucleus.
This is the critical step of freshwater pearl farming, also the nucleation process is a surgical procedure. When a foreign object is implanted inside the oyster, then it will become irritated. the oyster then counteract that irritation by surrounding the object with a secreted nacre. That produces actual pearls. If high quality seed nuclei are available, various methods (such as inserting bamboo bars) should be used to make the shell of pearl oyster slightly open double petals. Generally, novices need to practice for about a year before they can become familiar with it, and it is better for women.
3. Growth of the pearl oyster
The Pearl oyster, which has been implanted into the seed nucleus, needs to be placed in a special raft suspended in a cage, which is anchored in quiet waters with little change in the protected environment. The best time is in March and April each year, because the water temperature is most suitable for the wound healing of the mantle of the Pearl oyster. After 2-3 weeks, the seed nucleus began to accept the pearlite secreted by the Pearl oyster, and then formed pearls. In a period of time (4-6 weeks in total) it is necessary to check the development of the nacre layer and remove some small organisms that failed to withstand the test, so as to ensure their health. They are then loaded into new cages and transferred to fixed bead farms, suspended from rafts to depths of 2-3 metres. Over the next three and a half years, they will remain undisturbed and grow normally.
4. Harvesting of the freshwater pearls
Once pearl development is complete, the freshwater pearl harvesting must begin. Usually the harvesting time is from November to February of the next year, but not harvested in high temperature season, because pearls precipitate quickly and have loose texture when the temperature is high. The surface of pearls is often covered with a layer of white material, which has a dim luster and poor quality.
After removing pearl shells from the sea, insert pearl shells from the ventral margin opening with a scalpel opener, sever the closure muscle forcefully, expose the soft part, gently insert pearl sacs with tweezers or knives, and carefully remove pearls from the sacs.
The pearls harvested can be divided into different grades according to different qualities， and then the pearls can be made in to different kinds of pearl jewelries such as freshwater pearl necklaces, freshwater pearl earrings, freshwater pearl pendants, freshwater pearl bracelets etc.