Black Pearl farming started in Bora Bora in 1961. Because of the success in Bora Bora, pearl farms were established on the atolls of Manihi, Marutea and Mangareva.
Several times a year, the black-lipped pearl oyster, which lives in the coral in the South Pacific, produces spawn which is fertilized in the water. These baby
oysters are called spat and they float freely in the lagoon before attaching themselves to coral or dying out. The pearl farmer collects the spats on artifical collectors in the
lagoon. They are reared on underwater lines for more than three years and when they reach maturity they are taken out of the lagoon for a short period of time, are carefully held open
with a plastic stick similar to a clothespin, and turned over to the grafter for grafting. Click on The Grafter above to see the intricate process of grafting.