The Pearl Farming Process

Episode: Bali
Title: The Pearl Farming Process
Broadcast: April 30th 2017
Presenter: Claudia Bertorello-Kell

It takes a little bit of magic to grow a living gem like a south sea pearl and nothing is quite as beautiful. Producing a pearl requires great deal of balance between nature and science, couple that with the dedication and hard work of pearl farmers and a truly nutrient rich environment.

  • An extensive 3-5 year process is involved from hatchery to harvest. The larvae are fed algae in a controlled environment until they grow to 1ml and are then sent out to sea.
  • The most suitable shells for pearling are carefully handpicked based on health, size, shape and colour. Lulu and Milia show us the selection process.
  • The oysters are around 8-9 months old during grading, where small and big oysters are separated.
  • Each oyster is monitored and cleaned at regular intervals to ensure they grow harmoniously and free of any predators. Shells are suitable for seeding at sexual maturity, which is about 2 years.
  • A piece of mantle is cut from a fresh water mussel from the Mississippi River and is then laid on the nuclei to trigger the formation of the pearl.
  • This is where the very talented pearl technicians see the pearls. These women are considered masters of their craft because of their delicate hands. Many of them are former dancers so their agile fingers give them the advantage with this intricate job.
  • Next the live oysters are moved from the hatchery here in northern Bali to the five pearl farm locations to help risks of natural disasters and pollution.

For more information about visiting the places Trevor and Claudia visited in this episode, visit and

For hotels featured in this episode, visit Plataran Hotels and Resorts ( and Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort (


For flights from Australia to Indonesia, visit Garuda Airlines (

Also visit