Finding pearls, especially in the wild, is a rarity. This is not impossible, although you should look for it at an official shop. If you want to increase your chances, seek out guided tours of pearls.
Method 1 of 3: Finding Pearls when Eating or Buying Oysters
Step 1. Order fresh oysters
One way to find oysters is to eat fresh oysters in restaurants. It should be noted that this is not common, especially if you are looking for high-priced pearls. The chances are slim, but not impossible. In fact, different types of edible oysters usually produce different pearls, making it difficult to find precious pearls with this method.
- You don't have to order fresh oysters. Any food that contains oysters can be tried.
- You can buy fresh oysters at the fish market to eat at home. To open fresh oysters at home, point the lip of the shell up. Insert a kitchen knife into the lip of the shell, then gently push in and slice until the front is exposed. Open the oyster to see if there are pearls in it. If not, you can still enjoy oyster meat.
Step 2. Know what you are looking for
Most of the pearls in ready-to-eat oysters are inexpensive. The shape is usually ugly and the texture is hard. However, keep pearls that are perfectly round. If it's a bright color, like purple or orange, it's usually a high-value item.
- Pearls come in a variety of colors, such as blue, purple, orange, white, pink, green, and black. Pearls can be round, rectangular, oval, or abstract.
- Unfortunately, most edible oysters produce pebble-like pearls.
Step 3. Don't bite the pearl
If you feel a firm texture when eating an oyster, don't bite it. The pearls found in oysters are usually very hard and can damage your teeth. You can't swallow it either. Remove the pearl from the mouth. If it's round, smooth, and shiny, take it to a jeweler.
Step 4. Buy pearl oysters
Some companies sell pearl oysters that can be delivered directly to your door. These companies guarantee that you will get the pearls in the oysters you buy.
Method 2 of 3: Dive for Pearls
Step 1. Look for a guided tour
If you've never dived in search of pearls, we recommend taking a guided tour. You can find these tours online or through a travel agent.
- Some pearl producing companies allow you to dive in for natural pearls. Other companies make this a special harvest operation. You have a better chance if you go for a pearl harvesting operation, but the time is usually short.
- In fact, some companies guarantee that you will find the pearl, or that they will give it away for free.
Step 2. Be a good swimmer
To dive while looking for pearls, you must be good at swimming. While there are companies that provide diving equipment, sometimes you just don't get it. Either way, you need to be able to swim.
If you can't swim yet, take a swimming class at the nearest swimming school
Step 3. Wear appropriate clothes
The clothes worn must follow local norms. For example, in Dubai, you have to wear long white pants and a similar top. The purpose of this suit is to protect the body from jellyfish. Ask the pearl-producing company about the most appropriate clothes to wear.
Step 4. Dive in
A boat will take you to the dive area. Usually, you can dive to a depth of 3-5 meters. Sometimes, the service provider will provide a ballast so that you sink faster. You can collect wild oysters, or release oysters that are specially bred to produce pearls.
Step 5. Open the oyster shell
At the end of the session, a technical expert will help you open the oysters. Sometimes, he uses a machine to open it. The oyster will be returned to the sea after the pearl is taken.
Method 3 of 3: Getting a Dive Permit to Find Oysters
Step 1. Visit an area that produces natural pearls
In the United States, the search for freshwater pearls usually takes place in Lake Kentucky, the Tennessee River in Tennessee, and San Angelo. Meanwhile, seawater pearls are often found in Hawaii.
While you can find pearl-producing oysters in other areas, these areas are the best commercial pearl-producing centers
Step 2. Pay the fee
In most areas, you will need to pay a licensing fee. In Tennessee, for example, licensing fees fall into several categories. Residents of the original area were charged IDR 2,000,000 (in 2016), residents outside the region were charged IDR 10,000,000 (in 2016). You can also obtain a license as a wholesaler for a fee of IDR 5,000,000 (in 2016).
Step 3. Use the diver flag
When in the water, you should usually use a diver flag. This flag can indicate that there are people in the water. In Tennessee, for example, boats are prohibited from crossing within 15 meters of the diver's flag, or causing waves within 60 meters of the flag. The only boats that are allowed to be there are those used to carry divers.
Step 4. Dive for pearls
Like a guided tour, you'll need to take a boat to the dive area, especially if you're diving in search of saltwater pearls. However, most freshwater oysters are found in shallow water. So you just have to walk down the river. Oysters are quite difficult to find because they mix with sand and are at the bottom of the river.
- Look for oysters in shallow water. Usually, sandy waters are the best place. You can also find oysters in rivers, lakes, and streams.
- Most fishermen use filters to go down the river and collect oysters. Generally, you will need to walk along the shallows of the river and grope the riverbed for oysters.
- In lakes, you can use a similar method to find oysters, but you'll need standard diving equipment.
- If the water isn't cloudy, you can see an oyster shell sticking out of the sand.
Step 5. Open your oyster shell
Use a dull knife to open it. Place the shell on a hard surface face up before tucking the knife tip in and prying it out. Press the opening in the lip of the oyster, then cut to the side. When you're done, you can pry out the shell and look for the pearls inside.
Polish the pearls with table salt and a soft damp cloth
Step 6. Follow applicable regulations
Usually, the oysters taken must have a standard size. In Tennessee, for example, there are rules about the size of each species of oyster that can be caught.
- The easiest way to measure oysters is to use a ring that has been designed in such a way. You just need to make sure the oyster you catch can pass through the ring.
- For pink heelsplitters and washboard oysters, the oyster must be at least 10 cm in diameter. River pigtoes, lake pigtoes, maple leaf, southern, three ridge, and elephant ear oysters must have a diameter of 12/20 cm, while ebony and monkey face oysters must have a diameter of 5 7/20 cm.