Meanwhile, above water, an employee gives a fascinating talk, alternating in both English and French for foreign visitors, about the lengthy & labor-intensive process involved in pearl cultivation. It’s hard WORK and unlike the finished product, there’s nothing glamorous about it.
A professional grafter imbeds a “seed”, a small bead, in each black pearl oyster as an irritant to initiate the growth process. The live oysters are tended with care over a 3 year period - periodically inspected, cleaned, lowered/raised as necessary - as layers of organic matter are built up coating that nucleus. Then the final harvesting reveals the tiny percentage of valuable pearls actually produced and suitable for sale.