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     Phuket Pearl Farm factory is a family run business. Three generations have lead the way in the Phuket pearl farming industry, offering steady jobs to locals and impressive experiences to visitors.

Meet Jitti Intorncharoen, the director of Phuket Pearl Factory

At first glance, Jitti Intorncharoen, the managing director of the Phuket Pearl Factory group, the biggest producer of pearl jewelry in the province, doesn’t exactly look like a businessman. He usually wears comfortable clothes, such as shirt and jeans.

He loves to feel connected to his employees and be a part of the big family that is Phuket Pearl Factory. If you were to ever meet him, you will notice immediately that he cuts a salt-of-the-earth type figure.

Although he has made a living away from the forests and dry land, Mr Jitti’s educational background is in forestry science. However, he loves pearl farming and wouldn’t see himself doing something else.

Jitti Intorncharoen was at first an employee at a black tiger prawn farm. His job was to control the quality of water and feed for raising the prawns. He later quit and tried his hand breeding cockles on a coastal farm before returning to help the family business.

His career took an unexpected twist when he decided to run the pearl jewelry business alongside his elder brother, who has direct experience in the jewelry area. 

The story of Phuket Pearl Factory

Phuket Pearl Factory group is the country’s first pearl producer that has a fully integrated process. This business plays an important part in Phuket’s economy and also serves as a learning centre for those interested in discovering the secrets of Phuket pearl farming.

When asked about where it all began, Mr. Jitti said the foundation of the company was laid in 1967, as a family business run by his grandfather. Initially, his grandfather farmed cockles. He eventually turned to raising pearl oysters for distribution to pearl producers. 

Mr Jitti’s parents took over the business in the years to come. In 1991, the Tourism Authority of Thailand launched a major campaign to promote tourism in Phuket. The private sector agreed to join the drive, resulting in a boom in tourism and development.

That was when the third generation of the family, Mr Jitti and his brothers and sisters, stepped in, picked up the torch and streamlined the pearl production process.

Good to know! In 1993, the company successfully cultured and harvested its first perfectly round pearl – the rarest shape for a cultured pearl – after working with several universities to carry out research on pearl cultivation.

A year later, the company changed from a family business to a manufacturer with a fully integrated production process, ranging from breeding and farming pearl oysters, to producing, designing pearl jewelry and setting up shops to sell the products.

The Phuket Pearl Farm

The company includes farm (the biggest in Phuket- at Koh Maphrao, off Phuket) and a factory for sorting out pearls, producing and designing pearl jewelry.

The quality of sea water at the island is suited for farming pearl oysters and the environment is largely intact. Each farm has 500 krachang (floating baskets) for raising the oysters.

The farm can breed 100,000 oysters annually with an output of about 50,000 to 60,000 pieces of pearl jewelry made each year. However, more farms are currently into development.

Did you know? A pearl is cultured inside the shell of an oyster. A perfectly round pearl can be quite valuable on the jewelry market.

Mr Jitti declared that he is aware that the competition among pearl suppliers is now fierce, with freshwater farmed pearls coming in from abroad. The quality of freshwater pearls is continuously being improved and brought up to a par with that of saltwater pearls.

Good to know! Saltwater pearls have a thicker surface and shine with more luster than freshwater pearls. Make sure you know the difference between a freshwater pearl and a saltwater one. Several entrepreneurs import cheap freshwater pearls and pass them off as saltwater ones.

Phuket Pearl Farm in the 21st century

In 2003, the company succeeded in producing a Rather Round Pearl and applied for a patent for its method to produce this pearl. The RRP is a cross between the distinctive South Sea Pearl and the Mabe Pearl, and it dazzles with its gold-rainbow color.

Next year, the company received several awards in recognition of its business management, but it is its product innovation and craftsmanship that have made the pearl industry in Phuket shine. 

Today, everyone recognizes the quality and standards of pearl products in Thailand. Thai pearls can compete with pearls from any country and even become winners.

Did you know? Phuket Pearl Factory’s pearls are famous internationally. The factory designs beauty pageant crowns and uses its own pearls to adorn them.

A tour of the Phuket Pearl Farm

Tourists who want to visit the Phuket Pearl Farm are welcomed by English-speaking tour guides. They will have a chance to visit the farms and the factory, and to discover all the stages of the pearl making process.

Mr Jitti knows that customer service is the key to a successful business and agrees that honesty is always the best policy. “It is important to provide customers with correct information,” he says. 

Each year, several state agencies, both domestic and overseas private firms, and foreign embassies visit the company and study the way Mr Jitti runs its business. Local and foreign media is always interested in the story of pearl farms. 

Apart from making profits and pulling in money from tourists, Mr Jitti is happy to inform us that the company and those in the aquaculture businesses generate jobs and guarantee secure incomes for local residents.

As Phuket is a world-renowned resort island drawing both Thai and foreign travelers each year, the company must apply various pricing strategies to ensure its products are affordable to all customers. “People look for beauty and happiness. The pearl business must respond to the needs of each customer,” Mr Jitti said.

Tips for how to know a genuine pearl when you see it

Pearls look almost the same to a layman’s eyes. It is easy to cheat the unsuspecting. However, here is the easiest way to know a genuine pearl from a fake pearl, according to Mr Jitti:

“Take a pearl and rub it against your teeth. If it feels rough, it is a genuine pearl. If it feels smooth, it is an artificial pearl with a heavy coating. In some cases, a pearl must be incised to check if it is real or plastic.”

Check here: Phuket Authentic Products Shopping guide!

 Phuket Pearl Shop – Main Page

Phuket Pearl Shop, pearl Farm and pearl Factory.