“The results have been astounding at this new akoya pearl farm,” the company reports, due primarily to better water temperatures, larger and stronger native oysters, ideal ocean currents and better nutrient-rich phytoplankton feed to produce an improved host oyster with a significantly lower mortality rate that results in a higher percentage of high lustre and good colour pearls for which both the species and the company are typically known for.
“Cultivating pearls using native oysters in this area heralds an important new advance in Japanese pearl production, at a time when the amount of high-quality akoya pearls is feared to be decreasing,” the company said. This past winter at Ainoshima, pearls were harvested from 10,000 akoya pearl oysters that had been raised to maturity over the past four years. Nearly 12,000 pearls were harvested. The goal for 2010 is to harvest pearls from 50,000 akoya oysters, with the number of oysters to be harvested expected to grow to 200,000 within the next three years, the company said.
Is this the dawn of a new akoya cultivation business, using home-grown, disease-free, natural pearl oysters to revive a moribund Japanese pearl industry? We can only hope so.
source: National Jeweler online