Pearls are amongst the most ancient and sought after gem in the world with a history which has always been strongly interconnected with the one of mankind.
The strongly growing demand of pearls up through the Middle Ages had severe consequences on the number of pearl oysters in the seas. After the European discovery of the Polynesian secrets of the South Pacific islands in the 18th century, the intensified catch of oysters in the lagoons resulted in an almost extinction of the black-lipped oyster in just 150 years. Hence, thanks to the breakthrough and initiation of the pearling culture, first in Japan around 1904, then in Australia in 1954 and since in French Polynesia in 1963, the pearl oysters around the world were able to survive.
Today there is interdependence between people, pearls and nature, and cultivating sustainable pearls involves a social – and an environmental proactivity. With the purpose of creating better conditions both for a naturally healthy environment and the source of income for the people working within the industry, the perception of sustainability and fair trade gathered in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), is a movement towards better conditions for both the workers and their environment. Pearl farmers producing sustainable pearls therefore have to comply with numerous regulations that enable them to use the trademark sustainable pearls.
When harvesting sustainable pearls no treatment will be performed, there will be no manipulation with colours or luster. The pearls will appear with the qualities the oyster has created, and by using sustainable methods for cultivating pearls, even higher quality of pearls can be obtained. This is a groundbreaking combination of high quality pearls, business and allegiance.
The principles of sustainability can be applied to both saltwater pearls, saltwater Keshi and saltwater Mabe.
Due to current conditions and todays methods for cultivating Freshwater Pearls, these types of pearls are not sustainable.
MARC’HARIT AND SUSTAINABILITY
At Marc’Harit we work only with the best of quality in cultured pearls, and the majority of our pearls are sustainable. We visit our suppliers on their pearl farms in French Polynesia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Mexico regularly. This way we can ensure that the conditions under which the pearl production takes place comply with sustainable principles.
French Polynesia, where the Tahiti pearl is being cultivated, is subject to regulations controlled by the government, and the pearl farms are regularly inspected. This e.g. implies regulations on the amount of pearl oysters per hectare water. Healthy water condition is ensured for the oysters when growing, since natural algae pollution can become a problem for the surrounding wildlife life and the pearl oysters themselves.
In countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, and Mexico where the White, Gold, and Cortez pearl respectively is produced, the conditions are somewhat different. Here, there are no regulations from any authority, neither on working conditions nor environmental protection. However, selected pearl farmers have chosen to be predecessors in terms of sustainable pearl cultivation. Marc’Harit have a close cooperation with these selected pearl farmers, hence being able to present our ample sustainable pearl collections.
Sustainability and CSR requirements in their full state of performance are however still challenging to obtain within pearl culture. Only pearls which comply with the entire set of requirements, are approved sustainable pearls.