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Phuket Pearl Farm 

 People who like pearls are special and are sure of their own identity…

 

       Phuket pearl farm is one of the interesting attractions in Phuket and a place that has an interesting story to tell. Khun Amorn Intarrajaroen, owner of the Phuket Pearl Factory, was good enough to want to share this story with everyone who is interested to find out where it all began and what lies ahead for.

Phuket Pearl Farm

Khun Amorn says : “My family has farmed pearls for almost 40 years off Koh Rang, near Phuket. We started in my grandfather’s time,” . The industry was started in Phuket by the Japanese, who had the know-how – they were the originators of pearl-farming and cultured pearls. Local Phuketian learned from the Japanese and have since developed techniques further.”

However, seven years ago, Khun Amorn decided to set up his own farm at Koh Maprao ( Cocunat island ) , just off the east coast of Phuket, and try his own strength in this field. His farm is now the biggest pearl farm in Phuket and his show room sells some of the most fabulous Phuket pearl gems.

Ups and downs for the Phuket Pearl Farm

Khun Amorn continues his story and talks about the ups and downs of running a pearl farm in Phuket. He remembers that before tsunami in 2004, his company farmed almost 100,000 pearl oysters and they obtained pearls from about 70% of the oysters. When the tsunami devastated the country he lost his entire farm and 70 million baht in one single day.

However, this didn’t determine him to give back. Despite this massive setback, he started again, though with only half the investment involved in the pre-tsunami farm.

He explains : “It’s not an easy business. Pearls grow in oysters that must be kept in the water for a long time, sometimes a year or even more, before harvesting. Theft is a serious problem. Most pearl farm owners hire employees only for very short periods – a few days at a time – so that none of the workers can figure out when the pearls are ready to be harvested, and steal them.

On top of this, it seems that the natural conditions around Phuket have been changing after the tsunami. The sea level is different – even the local fishermen are confused. The chemical composition of the water is also changing.

We have to adjust a lot and study more in order to be able to continue producing pearls.”

The Pearl Farm today

All of this, however, has not stopped Khun Amorn from farming pearls and that’s why today his business is so successful. He does it, he says, for the love of it – though not blind love.

“In this business, you can’t expect a quick return. It takes time, and you can’t  control most of the factors [that influence pearl growth]. Many people think that I’m crazy to still dedicate time and investment after the tsunami.”

However, for him, running a pearl farm is not just about how much money he has put in. He loves to experiment with the pearl-making process himself, not always successfully. There have been many times when he and his team had to throw away lots of oysters after putting in pearl nuclei because the experiments were a failure and the oysters were dying.

But he is undeterred, and continues in his attempts to advance pearl-making techniques and also to come up with new ways to use pearls in jewelry.  And his brother deals with the marketing side of the business, his energies go into the creative side of the industry.

Know a genuine pearl when you see one

If you are interested in pearls sure that you’re interested in knowing how to tell if a pearl is real of fake. It’s important to remember that culture pearls are genuine too.

Basically, according to Khun Amorn, the difference between a natural pearl and a cultured one is  the nucleus. In the case of a natural pearl, underwater currents in the sea deliver the nucleus of the pearl – a grain of sand, for example or any other small particle. In the case of cultured pearls, the nucleus is inserted artificially  by hand. After that, the process is the same; the oyster does the work.

We’re talking here about the difference between natural pearls and plastic pearls. So, here are the tips that will help you invest your money in a natural pearl created to last:

  • Check the weight of the pearl. A real pearl has some heft to it and is, of course, heavier than a fake plastic imitation.
  • Feel the surface of the pearl. If you gently rub two pearls together and feel a slight roughness, the pearls are real. If the sensation is smooth and silky, it’s likely the “pearls” are made of plastic.
  • Check for natural flaws. All real pearls have flaws because this is a natural process; the likelihood of a real pearl having a perfect shape, for example, is next to nothing. On the other hand, a good pearl should not have too many flaws.
  • Sea pearls take time to produce. Some pearl shops may try to fool buyers into paying over the odds by selling them river pearls, which take a much shorter time to produce. Also, a river oyster can produce 50 pearls or more, whereas its marine cousin can produce only one at a time.
  • The most difficult scam to detect is pearls made from the dust left over after real pearls are made into jewelry. Using special technology, this dust can be molded into a “pearl” that is so like the real thing, with the right weight, luster and even color, that it takes a professional to tell the difference.

What’s a pearl worth?

You need to know that there are no agreed standards for pricing a pearl. The price depends eventually on the buyer and seller. Factors that may affect the price include current trends in color and shape, or just personal preferences.

“People behavior varies also with age”, added Khun Amorn. “Most young women start out buying jewelry that is not very expensive, such as silver. As they get older they graduate to white gold, gold, diamonds and then other gems. Pearls are usually the last category they go for. People who like pearls are special and are sure of their own identity”.

Visit the Pearl Farm Factory’s show room visitors to discover some of the most beautiful Phuket pearl gems. You will see a bewildering choice of shape, colors and prices. Some items sell for less than 3,000 baht, but prices of 150,000 baht and more are not extraordinary. Buyers can purchase pearls alone, or pearls made into jewelry such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings.



 Phuket Pearl Shop – Main Page

 

Phuket Pearl Shop, pearl Farm and pearl Factory.