This blog tell about my travels all around the world, discovering islands, lagoons, active volcanoes, cities and meeting people.

28 février 2009


China is undoubtedly the leader in the production of freshwater pearls, it must be said that Chinese history refers to the use of pearls since more than 2200 years BC.

In Shanghai, jewelry displays offer necklaces and bracelets which always attract the visitor attention. My curiosity leads me into one of these stores near the Souzhou Creek in the north of the city.

Upon my entrance I'm greeted by a salesperson who offers me a little game

Advising a tray containing a few freshwater oysters, she asks me how much the one she intends to open contains pearls.

I doubt that this is a trap. I visited in Polynesia pearl farm and I knew Tuamotu oysters did in general, one pearl formed around a nucleus, but how it was for that Chinese pearl?

Thus, I answer:

- Certainly eight.

- Why 8? she said.

- Oh just because the number 8 is lucky according to Chinese tradition.


She began to smile as she opened the oyster under my eyes.


In fact, the mollusk contained twenty pearls whose size ranged from 2 to 5 millimeters in diameter.


Then she explains the differences between the freshwater pearls and seawater one, so called:” Akoya pearls”.

The freshwater pearls are unlike the Akoya pearls, made from 100% nacre without the need to introduce a nucleus. The only human action is to incise in several places the mantle of the oyster and to house and these incisions a small piece of mantle from another oyster.

This process made several times explains the large number of pearls harvested. When the operation is completed, the shellfishs are replaced in the water for 2 to 6 years, a period necessary for the get the pearls. More time will be longer, more bigger the pearls will be.

We understand that this method leads to pearls made up exclusively of nacre. The consequence of the absence of core would be a greater irregular shape since the growth is not guided by the nucleus shape. These pearls are rarely perfectly round and usually smaller.

The productivity of freshwater pearls is more plentiful, it is also why their price is lower.

All those considerations have contributed to the under-evaluation of Chinese pearls. However they have recently, considerably improved the quality produced, and now Chinese freshwater pearls rival sea water ones

Then, she get me initiated to identify real pearls. First, the noise when the pearls clinking together noise should not be too acute, but the most significant test is to rub the pearls in between them. If a light powder is formed, it is true pearl, with plastic or other synthetic compound, no deposit is formed. Making the test, I succeed this time to identify the real from the fake necklace.

After all this information, I will continue visiting the shop


and I will purchase these bracelets with various colors, of course after having verified the authenticity of the pearl with the tests previously learned.



Posté par seafire44 à 17:30 - Asia - Commentaires [0] - Permalien [#]
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