- It is possible to get an image or design of your choice embossed on pearls while they are being formed in the oysters – “Image pearl farming” is all about such a delicate process
- Karnataka is slowly trying to gain a foothold in this highly skilled process in the last two-and-a-half years with a substantial number of farmers getting trained in freshwater image pearl farming.
How is it done
- Pearls are nothing but a natural secretion called nacre deposited over months by oysters.
- The Fisheries Department of the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bengaluru trains the farmers in image pearl farming. About 300 farmers have been trained in the last two-and-a-half years.
- The process starts by procuring oysters from different States
- Oysters can be easily transported as they can live without water for three days. After acclimatising the oysters to the local conditions for about two months, the farmers carefully open up their shells with sophisticated instruments
- They further carefully implant moulds of images/designs made out of bio-compatible material inside the shells of oysters to shape the formation of the pearl.
- After the implant, the oysters are allowed to recuperate for about a week in aerated condition before releasing them into ponds.
- It would take about nine months for the image/design pearls to emerge after the implantation. The image pearls will be recovered by cutting open the shells
Source of income
- Pearl farming can be integrated with fish rearing. This would help increase the incomes of farmers
- While 300 farmers have been trained, only about 40 farmers have been seriously practising image pearl farming as it is a highly skilled job
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