Given my knowledge of pearl farms worldwide, I have been approached by a few people seeking information about starting their own pearl farm. Even my own Dad thinks we should start our own pearl farm in my hometown of Thomson, GA. If only it were that easy, I would start my own backyard pearl farm! Well, I have never been the one to dampen another person’s dream. So, I approach this subject very lightly… unless you are my Dad, then I say, “Absolutely Not!!” The truth is, starting a cultured pearl farm and attempting to culture pearls on your own takes ALOT of work and ALOT of money. You will be looking at five to ten years of operation without showing a profit!
For those of you interested in culturing pearls in your own cultured pearl farm, here is some (disheartening) information from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) on pearl farming:
Most traditional gemstone mining is grueling, costly, and dangerous. But no other gem requires the degree of planning, expertise, and partnership with nature required for successful cultured pearl farming.
Every aspect of pearl farming is risky. Pearl farmers face uncertain weather, water pollution, destructive parasites, predators, dying mollusks, potential epidemics, thieves, vandals, and more. The biggest uncertainty of all is the quantity and quality of cultured pearls recovered at harvest.
Successful pearl cultivation demands a lot from farmers. They must have in- depth knowledge of mollusk biology. They also have to be familiar with environmental science and meteorology—the science of weather.
Skill in the hands-on cultivation process is critical to the success of a pearl farm. Nowhere does it figure more strongly than in nucleation—the act of implanting a mollusk with material that prompts it to produce a cultured pearl. For mollusks to produce quality cultured pearls, highly skilled technicians—called nucleators or grafters—must be careful and precise. Mistakes can reduce cultured pearl quality or even kill a mollusk, costing the farm valuable stock.
Just in case I haven’t completely destroyed your dream of starting your own cultured pearl farm yet, see Where Should You Locate Your Cultured Pearl Farm?