Feature Gems & Gemology, Summer 2012, Volume 48, No. 2

Cultured Pearl Farming and Production in the Federated States of Micronesia

The current production of cultured pearls from the black-lipped pearl oyster (Pinctada margaritifera) in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) includes mostly beaded as well as blister and nonbead-cultured pearls in a wide array of colors. Pearl farming is carried out on four islands, with plans for commercial production in the near future. The sector is envisaged as a model for economic development and marine conservation. To successfully compete in the marketplace, pearl farmers in the FSM should focus on producing high-quality cultured pearls and explore market differentiation strategies such as the “Micronesian Blue” product. Gemologically, the FSM cultured pearls are indistinguishable from those of French Polynesia that are produced using the same mollusk species.