Pearls were considered to be highly prized form of jewelry since thousands of years and the demand for its saltwater version remains very strong even today. However, the demand is met mainly with the help of pearl cultivation.
Marine oysters are the main sources of saltwater pearls, irrespective of whether they are formed cultured or naturally produced. These molluscs are found mostly in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
Following are various sources of pearls from various parts of the world.
- Persian Gulf
The major pearl producing areas of the world are the Iranian coasts, Saudi Arabia and Oman. For more than 2,000 years, creamy white pearls were produced from these waters.
- Gulf of Manaar
This is in the Indian Ocean, lies between India and Sri Lanka. For more than last 2,500 years, this was an important source of pearls and today this place offers only sporadic fishing.
The control of fishing is under the Sri Lankan government and they also do the auction of oyster haul. All these oysters are allowed to rot after leaving them on the open ground.
People then search for pearls in the decomposed matter. All these pearls are sent to Bombay for further processing.
Divers with armoured suits try to fish off the west, north coast and northwest for pearl oysters. Here pearls from silvery white to yellowish colour are produced. Like pearl recovery, shell recovery is a major industry too, which is as important like pearl recovery process.
- South Seas
The area will refer to the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, however these pearls generically known as “Tahitian Pearls.” All native fisheries generally operate around Polynesia and Micronesia.
Such pearls will grow large and are usually round and up to weight of 7,100 grains. The Tahiti is known as major pearl centre.
Nowadays, Japanese waters are steadily becoming too much polluted for any natural existence of the Pinctada. Cultured pearls with typical white colour today constitute a very big industry for pearls.
- Mexico and Panama
Until the twentieth century it was one of the major sources, nowadays they produce cultured pearls of Tahitian-type.
- United States, California and Florida
Mostly they are conch pearls and abalone. California produced few black pearls.
Venezuelan oysters can produce small pearls. Marine oysters are the main sources of Venezuelan oysters, irrespective of whether they are formed cultured or naturally produced. These molluscs are found mostly in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.