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BEST PRICE GUARANTEE: If you order any item today then see it at a lower price on our website (up to 20/12/2023), tell us and we'll happily refund the difference (Terms)

Culturing Pearls

Only one in ten thousand molluscs in the wild will contain a natural pearl, which is why pearls have been so treasured and sought after throughout history.

With natural pearls so valuable, yet so hard and dangerous to find, it is no surprise that people set out to find a method of reproducing the pearl growing process in a safer, more controlled way.

The three pioneers of perliculture, or pearl culturing, were Kokichi Mikimoto, Tokichi Nishikawa and Tatsuhei Mise, with Mikimoto eventually emerging as the father of the trade. He began his work in the early 1900s and his first commercially available cultured pearls appeared in the 1920s. While it took a while for cultured pearls to be accepted, virtually all of the modern pearl market is made up of cultured pearls.

The pearl culturing process

Originally, the molluscs used for perliculture were harvested from the wild, but since the 1960s they have been bred specially for the industry. These young molluscs cannot start pearl production until they reach two years old.

Once it is mature, the mollusc is gently prised open and a small piece of mantle from a donor mollusc is grafted into its reproductive area. If a saltwater mollusc is being used, a shell bead is also inserted. This is a highly skilled process and the top ‘grafters’ can earn serious money.

The mollusc is then returned to the water in nets or baskets, which are hung from rafts to keep them at the right depth and temperature to maximise the chances of pearl production. The longer they are left to grow, the larger the pearls will be, however this also increases the chances of the mollusc falling prey to disease or predators such as starfish.

Pearl farming takes patience

Pearl farmers face a hard choice between taking a risk on longer growth for larger, more valuable pearls, or harvesting early to cash in on a crop of smaller, but more plentiful pearls. Not surprisingly, most take the latter option, making larger cultured pearls much more scarce.

Pearls are harvested at the coldest time of year to maximise their lustre. If the harvesting is done carefully enough, then the mollusc can used again for another crop of pearls.

Once they have been harvested, pearls must undergo several stages of preparation before they can be used to create the beautiful pearl jewellery you’ll find here at Absolute Pearls.

Terms & Conditions

Terms for 'SANTA20' Discount Code:

  • Expires 11:59pm on Monday 11th December 2023.
  • Can be used on any jewellery item EXCEPT any item that is already discounted (shown by a red coloured price with the original price crossed out).
  • Only valid for online purchases.
  • Discount is only applied to the product cost and not to gift wrapping or upgraded delivery charges.
  • Each code cannot be used in conjunction with any other Absolute Pearls discount code. (Only one discount code can be used for any one purchase)
  • The Discount Code must be entered into the 'Discount Code' field and the 'Apply Code' button clicked to apply it. It is the customer's responsibility to ensure the code has been applied prior to proceeding and paying for the order.
  • Any discount code cannot be applied retrospectively.
  • This offer may be withdrawn at any time without notice and is subject to availability.

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Terms for Best Price Guarantee:

  • If you buy any product from Absolute Pearls between 4th November 2023 to 20th December 2023 inclusive and subsequentially find that same product offered at a lower price on the Absolute Pearls website on or before 20th December 2023, we will happily refund you the difference.
  • Product discounts and available discount codes will be used to determine the lowest price available of any item on any given day and do not include postage or gift wrapping charges.
  • This best price guarantee does NOT apply if you fail to use/successfully apply the code in the checkout (for whatever reason) the best available discount code available on the day and which are available on the website banners and the New Subscribers mailing list sign up box. If in doubt, please email us on or call 01516257688 for guidance & information on discount codes.
  • To claim, you simply need to email us ( on the same day when you see the lower price, and include the following details: your name, your order number, the product code number and the date and lower price you saw on the Absolute Pearls website. Please also send us a screenshot or photo of said product and lower price.
  • If the same product (same SKU number) is offered at a price lower than you paid, we will refund the difference to you by the end of December.
  • The 'Best Price Guarantee' only applies to the Absolute Pearls website (

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