Saturday, June 15, 2013


China produces almost all of the world's pearl supply. One estimate I read said as much as 95% in the last decade. Pearls are the only gem made by an animal and are the oldest known jewel. We got the opportunity to visit a pearl factory while in Beijing.

These were cultivated freshwater oysters. First we had to pick which one we were going to harvest.

Next we took a large knife and cut open the oyster.

With a little muscle, the oyster is pried open to reveal the meat and pearls.

Many pearls from one oyster. the good quality ones will be made into jewelry. The odd shaped pearls are ground to powder and put into makeup and facial creams.

Quite a cool place to see the process from cultivated growth and harvesting.

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