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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Freshwater Pearl Cultivation – A profitable venture

Success in pearl cultivation

This story is not about the oysters that are found in sea water. But a story of the achievements of pearl producer, Ravikiran Bhat, a man from Karnataka State who has become an expertise in the art of pearl production.

He became successful in growing pearls indoor and inside the fresh water tanks.

Ravikiran Bhat, a young man from North Karnataka, India, has ventured into pearl cultivation, a rare adventure.

Ravikiran had an interest to learn astrology and the related planets. In the vedic astrology, pearl is the gem that belongs to Moon. He became more interested in knowing the details of pearl. And later he thought of cultivating the same, at his place.

This young fellow born on June 24, 1987, got his degree of MFSc in pearl farming, from the Freshwater fisheries Research Center CAFS(FFRC), Wuxi, Jiangsu, which is located in China. He collected lot of information through internet and learnt the pearl cultivation methods. He also came to know about the places where training is given for the same.

He visited the Central Institution of Fresh water Aquarium (SIFA) at Bhubaneshwar(Orissa state) and also the Kochin Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) in Kerala state. He got the necessary training from experts there and learnt the techniques. He invested Rs.4 lakh initially before he entered the indoor fresh water pearl cultivation job.

Inside the oyster

Inside the fresh water troughs...

Today, Ravikiran Bhat has achieved the rare feat of becoming a successful pearl cultivator in India. After achieving this feat, he has become the only pearl cultivator in the whole of Karnataka. His interest to be a corporate leader is widely appreciated by the people of the state.

Within his house yard he has four fresh water ponds of 60 feet wide and 15 feet long, for the oyster cultivation. The age of the oyster is decided by the lines formed over them. Small oyster shells are useless. Therefore it is necessary to be careful while selecting them. Oxygen is supplied through pipes to maintain the cool of the river environment, within the water tanks. Sand and small lime shells are mixed into the pond water.

Three types of pearls are available in the market. Natural , artificial and the ones that get cultivated within the shells. Ravikiran has accepted the third one, the fresh water pearl cultivation.

Oyster operation

Oysters operated

River water has in it 52 types of oysters. Lamellidens marginalis, Lamellidens corrianus, Parreysia corrugata types are of great importance in pearl cultivation.

After 10 days time, the selected oysters are placed in glass troughs and the good quality oysters will be ready to get operated.

Just before the operation, the oysters are given an anesthetic. For this, a tub is filled with water first and then anesthesia powder is added to it. Oysters are left in a condition of artificial respiration for about half an hour. Slowly they reach the subconscious state . During this stage, the oysters will be ready to get operated. So, this is an important part of pearl cultivation.

Ravikiran becomes a real doctor to these oysters, at this stage. Wearing a glouse, with tongs and plucker in hand, he operates 25 oysters per day.

Pearl oysters

At the Intensive Care Unit...

Oysters are taken out from the water when they are in a state of unconsciousness and operated. Through operation nucleus is inserted into the organ called Gonad(a small bead shaped thing which is imported from Japan).

Once again, the oysters are placed in troughs for artificial respiration. They will be tested again to see whether they have come back to consciousness. It is totally like a Intensive Care Unit. They will then be placed in the same position for 10 days. More cautiousness is required at this stage, because there will be every possibility of oysters losing their lives.

Month of January is considered to be best for operating the oysters. Oysters that undergo operation are placed separately in small meshes and will be hung down to a wooden ladder laid flat, over the tank. Thus the oysters that have got adjusted to the outer environment will be kept under a close watch. Finally, they are placed back into the oyster collection tank. Later, they will be there in collection for the next 1-1/2 years. As the nucleus is added causing trouble to the oyster, it gives out a sticky liquid called Nacre. This liquid is given out so as to escape from the trouble caused due to addition of the nucleus. Later, it gets transformed into a pearl.

Pearl Cove (Donovan, Book 3)
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The Book of the Pearl: The History, Art, Science, and Industry of the Queen of Gems
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Pearls: A Natural History
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Ravi kiran busy with pearl cultivation

To reduce pearl cultivation costs...

Better quality pearl can be obtained anyway. But the much needed color of the pearl is impossible to attain. So, it wears the same color that is present within the inner layer of the oyster. Pearl also gets cultivated in the similar fashion.

Nucleus will be imported for the sake of cultivation. The Geomentron sheets that are used in pearl collection tank are not available in India. Therefore they will be imported. Lakhs of rupees will be needed to invest into pearl cultivation.

These pearls are checked and tested in the international market when they get ready for the trading purpose, after cultivation. Only the expert consultants buy these pearls. There is a lot of demand for such pearls in the foreign countries.

Mr, Ravikiran says, As the farmers get more and more involved into the purchase of raw materials needed for pearl cultivation, easy methods may be found for the product marketing. Many a young unemployed people get the employment. Research as well as starting of good training centres will help farmers to get a systematic direction in this field.

These are his confident words.


Ravikran Bhat, the pearl culture expert

The honors he recieved for his achievement


The State level award for Kannada Kuvara 2008, and State level award for young achiever 2008.


Ravikiran is now, the chairman at his Fresh Water Pearl Culture Research Center and actively involved in training the pearl cultivators who are interested in the pearl farming. He has started the Ravikiran's Pearl Foundation. He is training those people in 3-5 places of Chattisgarh and Andhrapradesh state. He also has plans to start the consultation centres in Karnataka state, this year.

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