The Pearl Harvest Japan's cultured pearl industry is an elaborate process. Here, girls with special equipment insert bit of shell into oyster to start pearl. By Jack B. Kemmerer Japanese women pearl divers, called "amas," bring in the oysters from "farms." Oysters nave been in culture several years, ready to harvest. Â·SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA is well on its way to becoming the best customer of Japan's hard - working pearl-producing oysters. But take it from the pearl experts, you can't tell the natural pearl from the cultured one without considerable experience. And that's good. Good for milady, because the more cultured pearls, the easier it is to get husband or boy friend interested. Good for husband or boy friend, too, because it's far easier on his pocket. book. Most people, unfortunately, think that a cultured pearl and a simulated pearl are one and the same. This simply is not true: The simulated pearl is artificial--a manufactured product. While, biologically, the cultured and the natural pearl are both the same. THE NATURAL PEARL is formed when a grain of sand or a parasite enters the body of an oyster. Unable to withstand the resulting irritation, the oyster coats the annoyance with pearl to relieve itself. This process of coating continues until some pearl diver accidentally stumbles onto the oyster and removes the pearl. Cultured pearls go through exactly the same process except the irritation is put in the oyster by human hands instead of nature--everything else is the same. Actually, perfectly shaped natural pearls are quite rare because the irritant is usually odd- shaped. The "seed" inserted in the oyster by the pearl farmer, however, is perfectly round and usually tho resulting pearl is the same. This seed is a'perfectly smooth ball made from Mississippi clam shell imported from (Continued on Page 17) Pearl is taken from oyster which, not being edible, is thrown away. Edible oysters are of different family; of no commercial value for their pearls. Pearls are graded and classified according to their roundness, color, siiÂ«, weight and orient. Latter term refers to the luster and iridescence. --Photos Courtesy JMM Tourist AMH. Drilling holes In pearls in Japanese necklace factory. Special bits are required--diamond or carboloy--that cott $25 each, last only short time.
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