The Pearl Oyster
by Paul Southgate, John Lucas
Pages: 562 2008
Edition: 1st., 2008
The plain outer surfaces of pearl oyster shells conceal the lustrous beauty of their mother-of-pearl lining. Pearl oysters of the family Pteriidae have been fi shed for thousands of years to satisfy human fascination with mother-of-pearl, an activity which
occasionally uncovered rare and highly prized natural pearls. In the early 1900s, the ability of pearl oyster tissue to secrete mother-of-pearl was harnessed for production of cultured pearls. This process, which has changed little since, provides the basis for a cultured marine pearl industry with a current value of around US$ 500 million per annum.
Exploitation of pearl oysters by fi shermen seeking natural pearls and mother-ofpearl, or by pearl farmers, has a rich and fascinating history and the modern pearling industry does not necessarily refl ect the past glories of some countries. While many of us associate pearls with fashionable jewelry-shop windows and glossy magazines, it is an industry which also offers economic opportunities to coastal communities in less developed countries; an industry which involves individuals, co-operatives and families, as well as large multinational companies. This book presents an overview of the utilization of pearl oysters through history, from ancient pearl fi sheries to modern pearl farming.
The Pearl Oyster.jpg