Saltwater Tahitian Farming

The culturing of Saltwater Tahitian pearls occurs in the pinctada margaritifera cumingi oyster, or the Black-lipped oyster. The black lipped oyster is a fairly rare oyster, and therefore the only way to have enough of these oysters is to gather them from farmed spat and nurture them until they grow into the large oyster that is needed for nucleation. The black lipped oyster is not nucleated until it is 30 to 36 months old, and 7-13 cm in diameter. Only one nuclei can be placed in each oyster. Their pearl growth period is 22 to 26 months, and they can be re-nucleated for 2 to 4 cycles.

Black Tahitian Pearls are cultivated and farmed for pearl jewelry in the French Polynesian Islands. Most of the pearl farms are in closed lagoons which are usually completely ringed by coral reefs and have only one, or a few, narrow channels that circulate the seawater.

These closed lagoons are the best farming areas for several reasons. The stable environment makes the oysters easily accessible for cleaning, and moving. Tahitian pearl oysters could be moved based on the water temperature they need, such as shallower for warmer temperatures, and deeper for cooler temperatures. Also, a closed lagoon keeps eggs, sperm, and larvae in the farm area, as opposed to the dangers of these drifting out to sea in an open lagoon. In addition, facilities, equipment and workers have some degree of protection from the elements and potentially dangerous sea creatures.