Home » Guide » Pinctada Margaritifera

Photo courtesy © Megan Van Dyk

Photo courtesy © Megan Van Dyk

Black-lip oysters are the only pearl oysters that produce South Sea pearls. These oysters are solely cultivated in French Polynesia, in a garden that is nurtured not only by man, but by nature also. The pearls are a representation of nature’s perfection in art and beauty. The black-lip oyster produces some of the most breathtaking pearls that are not only big, but have a natural dark color that makes them a worthy addition to any jewelry. Scientists call them by their genus name of Pinctada margaritifera. They are only found in Tahiti as their numbers have greatly reduced over the years due to overfishing, but scientists have come up with a way to cultivate and harvest this natural work of art in a thrilling and mysterious way that perfectly mimics what nature has been doing for a long time.

In the deep cyan waters of the French lagoons, Pinctada margaritifera oysters are cultured and nurtured to develop and produce a uniquely shaped and beautiful pearl that is magnificent to look at. The Pinctada margaritifera are seeded every two years, and after careful tender care the black-lip oyster brings forth a marvel that is a sight to behold. They are the biggest pearls in the world, and the oysters are affectionately known as the mother-of-pearls. An adult black-lip oyster can grow to a diameter of 30 centimeters and weigh as much as five kilograms, but most of them are generally smaller and lighter; therefore you can gauge the size of the pearl that can be cultivated from an adult oyster. With a lifespan of more than seven years, the black-lip oyster can produce up to four dark pearls that are unique and beautiful to look at. They can also be nurtured to produce multicolored pearls that are just as big.

They can be found on luxury pens, decor objects, buttons, or simply carved with nice illustrations.The shell of the Pinctada margaritifera, or the mother-of-pearl, also called nacre, is also used for ornaments when its life under the sea has ended. They are cleaned, cut, and polished.

Image courtesy ©Gustav Paulay

Image courtesy ©Gustav Paulay

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