Tin Tin's Sailing Calendar

Thursday, 11 May 2017

BLACK PEARL, THE DECLINING JEWEL OF THE TUAMOTUS

Black Tahitian pearls were once the black gold of the Tuamotus. Though farming officially began in the 1960s, the industry didn't have the technology to make it viable till the 1980s. For the next decade and a half, the world market price for these 'rare' pearls was so high that many farmers became ridiculously rich ridiculously fast. By the year 2000, so many farmers had begun mass-producing that the market became saturated and prices began to drop. With very little centralisation or government organisation, the future of pearling now looks bleak. The Tahitian pearls that are 'farmed' are cultured; a cultured pearl is created by an operation called a graft. This culturing process takes approximately four years from the time the first oyster spawn are collected to the harvest of those oysters' first pearls.

For more information on pearl grafting, go to www.pearl-guide.com/tahitian-pearl-farming.shtml.

Lonely Planet Guide

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