THE ATLAS PEARL JOURNEY

A lot of hard work, dedication, commitment and passion is required to create each South Sea pearl.

The total time from hatchery to harvest can range from 4 - 5 years. Here is a step by step process of each Atlas pearl journey.

1. SPAWNING
Aged 1-30 days, size 60μm

Spawning is the process of oyster reproduction.

 

Male and female oysters are placed into tanks on a ‘spawning tray’ where adjustments to the water temperature triggers the oysters to release their eggs and sperm. Fertilisation will occur in the water.

2. HATCHERY
Aged 1-30 days, size 0-3mm (lavae)

Baby oysters are known as ‘spat’. Healthy spat rely on a constant supply of high quality algae that is grown in our hatcheries.

Oyster breeding allows for selection of premium oyster parents to produce the best pearls, and enables the business to operate in a non-extractive and sustainable manner.

3. GO TO SEA
Aged 1-2 months, size 3mm - 1cm (spat)

The most suitable shells for pearling will be carefully hand picked based on their health, size, shape and colour Approximately 20% of the oysters selected will make it to the seeding table.

4. GROW OUT
Aged 2 months - 2 years (oysters)

Over time shells will be moved from one holding net to another, accommodating their size as they grow, allowing them room to open and filter the
ocean for food.

 

Adult oysters can filter an average of 1 tonne of water per day, as a result their growth relies on a pristine habitat.

5. CLEANING
Aged 2 months - 4 years, size 1 - 15cm

The oysters are cleaned regularly over the 4 year cycle. Initially they are cleaned carefully by hand and when they are larger and more robust, with help of  a high pressure sea water spray. This process helps improve the health and growth of the oysters by removing predators and suffocating organisms.

6. SEEDING
Aged 2 years, size 12cm

Pearl Oysters become suitable for seeding at sexual maturity, approximately 2 years of age.

 

A piece of mantle is cut from a donor oyster and inserted into the gonad together with a nucleus. The mantle tissue will form a pearl sac around the nucleus and start deposition of concentric layers of nacre that will eventually form a pearl.

7. TRANSPORT
Aged 2- 4 years, size 7-15cm

 

Atlas Pearls operates several transport boats. Seeded oysters are shipped to one of several pearl farms on a custom transport vessel. 

 

Having oysters in the water at a number of sites throughout the archipelago helps to mitigate the risk of natural disasters

8. HARVEST
Aged 4 years, size 12-15cm

 

After 4 years, the harvest is the moment of truth - only 50-60% of harvested cultured pearls will be considered jewellery grade.

 

Only oysters bearing the best pearls will be
re-seeded and some of these will be selected for 'Broodstock' to begin the cycle again.

9. GRADING

 

Each pearl is carefully graded according to the core virtues.
 

Pearl graders are highly skilled at recognising the subtle differences between each pearl.

 

It can take up to several harvests to produce enough matching pearls to create one pearl strand.

© Atlas Pearls Limited 2020