THE PINCTADA MAXIMA OYSTER
As a general rule, the most beautiful pearls come from the mollusks with the most beautiful shells.
The Australian South Sea pearl oyster (Pinctada maxima) is the largest and rarest of all pearl oysters and produces the finest and most beautiful pearl nacre of any mollusk.
Divers collect the wild oysters by hand in the pristine waters off north-west Australia. They are then taken to pearl farms, where they are nurtured in the hope that they will produce a gem-quality pearl. Not every oyster will produce a pearl, and apart from rare exceptions, most will produce only one pearl at a time.
The shell itself is highly valued for its lustrous mother-of-pearl that is used for jewelry, fine quality buttons, and inlay.
Wild Pinctada Maxima oysters are only found in commercial quantities in an isolated region of north-west Australia. Untouched by pollution, these oyster beds are protected by strict diving quotas enforced by the Australian Government.
Pinctada Maxima oysters are rare and solitary creatures that thrive only in waters rich with microscopic plankton. They are particularly sensitive to changes in environmental conditions, making them extremely difficult to cultivate.
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