Oyster's Pearl: Treasure on the Sea Bed

A pearl seeker anchored her anchor. Sunshine bounces back from the anchor causing the surface of the blue sea become brilliant. Minutes later, a human body dived into the sea. About 50 second then, ama (title for pearl diver in Japan) resurfaced with oyster.

Everyday, pearl divers everywhere in the world fight their life to get pearl at the sea bed. Ama s in Japan mostly are women. They are willing to dive 40 feet into the sea without bringing any weapon to protect their self, except an iron knife with hook eye to pry oyster.

Oysters that can produce pearls can also be found in Persian Gulf, Gulf of Manaar (located between India and Sri Lanka), Red Sea, and Great Barrier Reef in the east coast of Australia. Most pearl divers especially in Sri Lanka are still using traditional method. However, some places have used modern equipment like scuba gear. This surely eases the oyster collection.

On a glimpse, nothing special is visible to an oyster. Their shell is grey, bumpy and has imperfect form. In the shell, live an oyster with damp body and having it contents covered by several layers of tissues called mantle. To protect it body, oyster have nacre; a kind of material which covered part in the shell with smooth layer called mother of pearl. Pearl is also produced from the same material. Oyster opened his shell a little and inhaled plankton; a kind of fine organism live in the sea, as its food.

Sometimes, the oysters will breathe something no appetizing to them like sand grains or broken small part of shell. To protect it body, the oyster will cover the foreign substance with a layer of 'mother of pearl'. There are oysters found to have small fish plastered in the stated layer.

Most pearl color is between white to pink. Somehow, there are also pearl colored in black, blue and golden yellow depending to the pigment in nacre. Such types are highly valuable.

Cultured pearl is produced by implanting sphere shaped nucleus imitation into the oyster body. This oyster later is maintained carefully in oyster farm bed until pearl is completely formed between three to six years later.

Basically, cultured pearl is produce with the same way as natural pearl, and is almost impossible to distinguish between the both. There are only two means to make sure whether the pearl is indigenous or not, that is by doing surgical dissection for the pearl, or taking its X-ray photo. Pearl the have a good round centre form is cultured pearl.

Imitated pearls are consisted of various types and price far cheaper than original. Some of them are made using high quality materials such as mother of pearl and coral. Some are only made from glass bead clad with essence d'Orient, which is a kind of solution made from fish scale. Although it looks beautiful if made jewelery, weight, surface appearance and resilience of artificial pearl is not the same as indigenous pearl, whether breed or produced naturally. Surface of artificial pearl is smoother and its shine also will fade after some time.

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