Rare Fijian Saltwater Pearls
Fijian Pearls are grouped in the usual collection of Tahitian Pearls, but they are technically not Tahitian Pearls. They are Fijian Pearls. They are even cultivated in a subset of oyster than the Tahitian Pearls. Tahitians are farmed in the Pinctada Margaritifera oyster, while the Fijian Pearls are farmed in the Pinctada Margaritifera typica oyster. (You may use that in cocktail conversation)
At this farm, in Savusavi, Fiji, the oysters are grown from the very smallest stage of baby spat to a full grown about 8″ oyster. At this stage they are ready to be nucleated and set to work. Nucleation is a very delicate surgical work, done by qualified technicians. A round “nucleus” must be inserted into a very specific part of the gonad organ along with a tiny square of donor mantle tissue. The mantle tissue activates the oyster to start producing a protective covering that is coated over the nucleus. This is to “protect” the oyster.
It takes about 1 1/2 years to grow an oyster to adult. Once the oysters have been nucleated and tied to a rope for operation, they are lowered back into their home waters. Every 6 months they must all be brought to a “cleaning house” to be scrubbed free of hangers on and growths. It looks like a small operation, but it is tidy. Fiji Pearls has different stations all over the Savusavu Bay for cleaning, harvesting, and sorting.
Fiji Pearls is dedicated to a sustainable farm culture and instilling into the Fijian population the importance of respecting and honoring this land and sea, but more on that in another blog.