Pearl farming has been in practice in several countries, though a few are the ones where it’s practised commercially. The best part about pearl agriculture is the profit and revenue generated through it. Many people have turned to pearl cultivation in recent years and have build fortunes. Little do people know what goes in to reap out the maximum benefits of pearl agriculture. It is a complicated process that leads many starters to consider the Advantages and Disadvantages of Pearl Farming.
Pearl Farming is the culture of rearing oysters and freshwater mussels to form pearls. A pearl formed by inserting a foreign agent such as sand particle between the mantle and shell of an oyster is called a cultured or artificial pearl. It is called the mantle graft implementation technique and is used to obtain pearls at a commercial scale. China is the largest producer of artificial pearls, while Japan, Australia, Vietnam, India, the USA, Myanmar also produce pearls for commercial use.
A pearl is chemically formed of calcium carbonate and a protein called conchiolin. Grafting is the term used to denote the secretion and growth of a cultured pearl, otherwise known as nucleation or seeding. It takes a year or more to harvest a quality culture pearl from the birth of the larvae. Its rarity and material are what make pearls a significant part of jewellery. Pearl cultivators have recently found easy ways to do pearl farming.
Out of the available pearls, 99% of the total are cultured ones obtained from farming the oysters and mussels. Natural pearls are very rare and are more valuable. You can use different X-ray techniques to distinguish natural pearls from cultured ones. Keshi Pearl, Black Pearl, South Sea Pearls are the most common type of gemstones. Knowing the value of these small white stones, you must be curious about the advantages of pearl farming.
The value of high-quality pearls can range from $300-$1500, making it a high-profit business. Once it's extracted and put into a wearable ornament, it becomes even more valuable. Although most of the profit comes from a very low proportion of harvested pearls, even these can give returns that attract many people into pearl cultivation.
The final product obtained in the harvest of pearl farming is lightweight and non-perishable gems used in making jewelry and other ornaments. After extreme precautions and proper nucleation, pearls of better quality and sizes can be obtained, which can be stored for any period.
One of the most important benefits of pearl farming is the employment opportunities it generates. From farming to marketing, the pearl business has provided livelihood to thousands of people, and it is still growing. As long the ornament industry is alive, this will provide many jobs to more and more people around the globe.
Apart from profit, one important plus point of mussels and oysters is their capability to clean water resources. A few thousand oysters can clean hundreds of gallons of water and remove impurities. The eco-friendly nature of this aquaculture also interest people. So far, pearl farming is deemed the most sustainable practice, with many farmers and professionals involved globally.
The investment and resources required for pearl cultivation are not very diverse, and over 25000 oysters can be farmed in a small pond or water body. A reliable source of input is needed, after which the process is quite simple, yet it needs patience, and a lot of risks is involved.
The most valuable pearls are perfectly round-shaped and are very rare. Giga Pearl is the largest natural pearl, and its formation could have taken more than 1000 years. It could take 2-5 years for a pearl harvest under proper conditions, and about 50% of the oysters and mussels die during the process. The total profit of pearl farming comes from 5-10% of the best quality pearls. Time consumed is one of the few disadvantages of pearl farming, along with many others.
The main requirement of owning a pearl farm is the unrestricted supply of various inputs, consisting of oysters and technicians who are experts in grafting. These inputs are the basic requirement, after which a lengthy and time-consuming process of seeding begins.
As discussed above, the initial investment is not costly but yet crucial to start this business. But since the profits are earned after a long wait, this needs initial investment for 2-3 years without any initial or mid returns.
A proper marketing channel is required to sell and purchase pearls, and for farmers, this can be a tedious task. So before starting this business, proper research is needed with the required amount of pearls are harvested. If a large number of pearls are obtained, it can risk the end value of these gemstones.
Over 50% of the organisms are killed during the seeding process, and a large proportion of gems are not of the finest quality. Since the production is unrealistic, the risk involved with this business is very high, and proper planning is needed to lower the risk associated with it.
If you don’t own a farm, you would have to scour the depths of seas and oceans to extract the natural pearls. Cultivating cultured pearls is rather a difficult technique. The nucleation technique is the basis of obtaining cultured pearls as most of the pearls available on the market are artificial ones. The natural ones are hard to obtain, and very few pearls are found from thousands of shells.
The technique is mastered by very few people and is mostly based in Japan. Although these days the locations where pearls can be farmed have a sufficient number of technicians, these people's lack can make it very difficult.
Conclusion on Pros and Cons of Pearl Farming
The cultivation of pearls from various techniques has evolved from the beginning of the 20th century and is still growing. It has emerged as a very profitable business without any mines or resources to obtain high-quality gemstones. Yet, the risk associated with it must be kept in mind before starting a pearl farm.
However, pearls are an unlimited resource, and due to their glossy look, they are in high demand. Therefore, it’s better to stay aware of the pros and cons of pearl farming, a little motivational stories, and keep learning about how to start your own cultivation business.
In the production of cultured pearls, pearl oysters are farmed in several countries throughout the world. Typically, producing a high-quality cultivated pearl takes several years and numerous complex procedures and actions.
Pearl farming is low-maintenance and highly profitable as a side business because it can be done even in a 10x10 feet pond. You may either gather shells (oysters) from a nearby water body or purchase them at a low cost and sell them to the market for a higher price after you've dug your pond.
Pearl farms are vulnerable to uncontrollable and unpredictable forces such as severe storms, water pollution, disease, extreme cold or heat, infestations, and others. It takes a lot of dedication, patience, and attention to produce a pearl, yet the final product is well worth it.
Freshwater pearls are created by grafting the mantle tissue of another oyster onto a fresh oyster. Saltwater pearls include beads and other mollusk tissue from another oyster. Only about half of the oysters survive this procedure. Aquaculture has exacerbated pollution and overfishing, causing the disappearance of natural pearl oyster beds from pollution and overharvesting.
China is the world's largest producer of cultivated pearls.