Pearl farms on the high seas
“Tears of the seas”, “kisses of sea maidens”, “jewels of Neptune” – as soon as they call natural precious stones created by living organisms at the bottom of the sea, but they are known to everyone as pearls.
Pearls are considered to be the first precious stone that people began to consider as a special sign of wealth. In addition, the pearls did not need to be processed – nature had already done everything, choosing the ideal shape, color or the number of beautiful precious balls in one shell.
The principle of pearl formation in oyster shells is simple: when a foreign object enters the body of a mollusk or shell, the body tries as soon as possible to envelop the irritant in a special substance called “nakr” – its numerous layers and form a pearl. In nature, it is impossible to predict what shape a jewel will turn out to be, and symmetry is quite a rare phenomenon, therefore, wild pearls of a perfectly round shape are more valuable.
Wild or cultured pearls?
By the way, about the types of pearls: now there are several of its varieties, which can only be distinguished by professionals or true connoisseurs. There are natural pearls (wild), formed in nature without human intervention; if you cut a pearl, you can easily make sure that a foreign body has become its basis, sometimes even an ordinary grain of sand.
Currently, the extraction of wild pearls is prohibited in the world, so it was replaced by the so-called cultured pearls, which are obtained by introducing a nucleus into the body of a mollusk by a person. By the way, the first attempts to cultivate pearls were made in ancient China and Japan, managing to implant even the smallest figures of Buddha made of copper or lead into the shell. The first pearl farms also originate from China, where entire plantations for growing precious oysters were created in ponds, and since then the Japanese are considered to be true masters who know how to breed new varieties and species.
Imitation pearls are also common these days, but they are made from cheap materials: a synthetic core is coated with a mixture of dye and some chemicals. As a rule, such beads have defects and irregularities, and therefore are valued low. But there is also the so-called organic Majorica pearls – a stone created with the help of modern technologies, which in its texture is as close to natural as possible. The process of creating such a pearl is painstaking and complex, because the crystal core is covered with numerous layers of pearl essence, and then polished with special care.
And since wild pearls can no longer be bought anywhere, man helps to create beautiful treasures from shells. Pearl farms have been operating in warm tropical seas for many years, where the perfectionism of nature is combined with a careful attitude towards it. Outwardly, such plantations resemble artificial islands or space stations – small rafts to which numerous oyster cages are attached. The preservation of the environment on such farms is a top priority, therefore, the maximum amount of manual labor is used in the work. But all this is on the high seas and not on an industrial scale, which is optimal.
Growing pearls involves several interrelated stages. At the very beginning, the mollusks grow up, up to about two years, then a seed nucleus is implanted into the shell, which is designed to stimulate the production of nacre. In the third stage, the shells are in the water for several years, during which they are regularly taken out and washed so that bacteria do not start or diseases develop. It is also necessary to turn the clams so that the pearls form evenly, getting the correct shape. And at the last stage, the shells are opened, and the pearls produced by the shellfish are taken out (by the way, there can be several pearls, of different sizes, shapes and colors). The shellfish meat is then eaten, and the shells can be ground and the mother of pearl can be used to produce cheaper artificial pearls.
Quite a long and laborious process is eventually crowned with beautiful round pearls, which are worthy of adorning the best pieces of jewelry art.
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