THE TAHITIAN CULTURED PEARL
The health of black-lipped oysters make or break a pearl farmer.
I can go on-and-on about the technical and scientific aspects of pearl farming in the Tuamotus, but I would rather point towards the natural exigencies and influences upon our daily lives.
The essence of sustainable pearl farming lies in the full adaptation of oneself into the ecosystem of the atoll. It is a constant struggle of adaptation, as conditions differ greatly form season to season. El niño, la niña, global warming, raising sea-levels etc. are but a fraction of the systems that affect our work. We have to also be vigilant of the local fauna and flora that spike at certain periods of the year.
For example, October announces the mating season for the Titan Trigger fish. The jaws on this beast can split an oyster in two, or a finger for that matter. They love to feed on young oysters and can devastate a whole harvest. The good thing about it, is that trigger fish are great on a barbecue, so a certain balance can be achieved.
Also, certain years can be very dry. Because of the morphology of an atoll, no mountains, rains can last 40-50 seconds and zip by, carried by the winds. Some years we have faced long droughts lasting 4-5 months. Without rain, life can be quite challenging.
Once you have a certain grasp of this environment over time, you can start to see what affects the health of the oysters, which is crucial to proper pearl production. There are a number of other, human and natural factors to consider: The pearl grafters expertise, the maintenance after graft of the oysters, the manipulation before and after operation, the temperature of the lagoon, the development of invasive algae and anemones etc. all of which need to combine to maintain a perfectly healthy and “sane” oyster.
At Collins Tahitian Black Pearls, we strive to make the best pearls in the world while still having fun and respecting our environment. We sell our harvests wholesale, in Tahiti, USA, Japan and twice a year at the Jewelry Fair in Hong Kong (Asia world expo March and September). We take orders that we can ship worldwide via fedex or dhl. We are working on a line of finished goods in stainless steel, silver and 18K gold that will be available in 2014.