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Pearls

Is there any way 'real' pearls can be harvested in a way that doesn't kill the oyster??

To me that'd be kind of like organic honey (where the goal is not to kill the bees) and I'd be okay with it.

I'm not a 'jewelry wearer' for the most part but I was wondering...

It depends on the company.

Some companies will graft an oyster 2 or 3 times. So, yes, they take the pearl without killing the oyster the first 2 times. But, after the third time - they don't bother to be careful and the oyster dies.

Other companies will only use the oyster once, and kill it while taking the pearl.

I don't know how it works in the "wild" ... but, that's bad for another reason. Dredging up oysters wrecks havoc on the ecosystem and surrounding sea life. It's just a bad practice all around.

If you were to find an oyster, and noticed that it had a pearl in it. You could, very carefully, take the pearl and leave the oyster in the same place you found it. At which point, it would continue its life just fine, probably making more pearls.

But, of course, the chances of you actually finding that oyster are pretty slim! There may, in fact, be a company out there that does the above. But, as I said, I'm not familiar with what companies do with the oysters found in the "wild."

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OMG...I jsut got really sad for the first time since returning to vegetarianism...I love pearls...I have a very few precious pieces that I bought myself (prior to going veggie)--it honestly didn't dawn on me untill I saw this post that the oysters are killed...I mean I already knew that they were it just wasent something that I thought about untill now...hmmmm this is an interesting dilimma for me. It's kind of like saying you're a vegetarian but you wear fur... :-\

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ecstatic - is there a way the oyster "discharges" the pearl on its' own eventually and then makes another one?  if a human doesn't remove it does it just stay in there forever?  and can they continue making more if there's already one in there? 

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I don't know about whether the oyster lives or dies, but it's definitely exploitative either way. 

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If you could extract the natural pearl without killing the oyster it could be seen as an act of kindness. Sort of like getting a stone out of a horse's hoof.

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Pphammer is actually right. The pearl is made when some sand gets into the oyster and irrtates it. A lot of oysters can "spit" most sand particles out. But, when they can't that's when the pearl comes into being. So, if you found one in the wild, you'd be doing the oyster a favor by taking the pearl.

I don't believe oysters can spit pearls out, though. At least, I've never seen it happen with the ones I studied .

I asked my S/O about this, as he's in the design business and knows many companies who deal with various products. He said there is a company in Tahiti who has a sustainable practice in terms of oysters. Their "oyster farm" is in the sea - just condensed in one specific area. They do introduce the sand into the oysters. After that, they care for the oysters for 20 years or so - cleaning the outside shells, removing parasites, keeping predators (and humans) away, etc. After an oyster can't make any more pearls, it's left alone, released into the wild, outside of the farm area - alive.  Apparently the "retired" oysters go on to reproduce, make "baby oysters" ... and the life cycle continues.

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Pphammer is actually right. The pearl is made when some sand gets into the oyster and irrtates it. A lot of oysters can "spit" most sand particles out. But, when they can't that's when the pearl comes into being. So, if you found one in the wild, you'd be doing the oyster a favor by taking the pearl.

I don't believe oysters can spit pearls out, though. At least, I've never seen it happen with the ones I studied .

I asked my S/O about this, as he's in the design business and knows many companies who deal with various products. He said there is a company in Tahiti who has a sustainable practice in terms of oysters. Their "oyster farm" is in the sea - just condensed in one specific area. They do introduce the sand into the oysters. After that, they care for the oysters for 20 years or so - cleaning the outside shells, removing parasites, keeping predators (and humans) away, etc. After an oyster can't make any more pearls, it's left alone, released into the wild, outside of the farm area - alive.  Apparently the "retired" oysters go on to reproduce, make "baby oysters" ... and the life cycle continues.

I would really love to find out what company this is! Do you know the name by chance?

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I would really love to find out what company this is! Do you know the name by chance?

I'll ask my S/O if he knows the name when I see him tomorrow.  :)

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Thanks for all the info Ecstatic!
I will have to read some more about this company, when you get back to us with the name.

I'm not in the market for pearls or anything... I was honestly just curious.

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http://www.kamokapearls.com/

He's 99% sure it's this company. He saw an article about a Tahitian company in a design magazine, which stipulated that the oysters are let go afterwards. But, he read said magazine a while back and so isn't 100% sure if this is the company.

I looked over their website. It sounds like a company who would do that - they're above and beyond in terms of ecological friendliness. But, as I said, he's not 100% sure it's them.

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I was just talking about pearls with my husband and found this thread. I have the same dilemma... I have some beautiful pearls that my hubby bought me for our anniversary several years ago, prior to my becoming a vegetarian. What should I do with them? My daughter is vegetarian too, so I can't give them to her. I don't want to hurt my husband's feelings. They are beautiful and I appreicated them at the time, but now I can no longer bring myself to wear them. What would you do?

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I have a single teardrop-shaped black pearl on a gold chain from my mother - her best friend bought it for her when they went to Tahiti. I've kept it ever since because that trip to Tahiti was the last trip my mother was well enough to undertake (and I'm pretty sure her impression of that holiday was 'when I die, I hope I go to Tahiti). I'm not about to get rid of it, since it's essentially a pretty but useless trinket but for sentimental value.

I know if I ever suddenly decided its presence gravely offended me, my sister would take it, but if we're thinking like Puss In Boots, I got a necklace and an incontinent shih tzu, and I'm not letting go of either! :P

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I have a single teardrop-shaped black pearl on a gold chain from my mother - her best friend bought it for her when they went to Tahiti. I've kept it ever since because that trip to Tahiti was the last trip my mother was well enough to undertake (and I'm pretty sure her impression of that holiday was 'when I die, I hope I go to Tahiti). I'm not about to get rid of it, since it's essentially a pretty but useless trinket but for sentimental value.

I know if I ever suddenly decided its presence gravely offended me, my sister would take it, but if we're thinking like Puss In Boots, I got a necklace and an incontinent shih tzu, and I'm not letting go of either! :P

I'm so sorry about your mom. :( 

Yeah, I've been thinking when the time comes I will leave it to my niece. It's special to me and I figure it should go to someone I love. Thanks for your input and some perspective.

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It's been a long time, abrimmer. Well, to me, it has, I guess. Glad I could be of some help. :)

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This thread reminded me of a rant one of my girl students went into a while back. Her BF is a chemical engineer, and according to her, not romantic at all. She was wanting a "romantic" present (they're not officially engaged but have lived together for years) so she took him to a jewelry store and pointed out the strings of pearls. He asked the man in the shop how much and was told 400 Euros. "For calcium carbonate??? That's crazy!" he replied.

Well, I guess if you look at it that way...diamonds are just pressed carbon, after all.  ;)b

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