The cultured pearl industry officially began on Phu Quoc Island some 18 years ago when an Australian-Vietnamese joint venture company was established. Some large Vietnamese farms were also set up at that time. There are several pearl farms on Phu Quoc raising different varieties of oysters. 2.2km down the road, Phu Quoc Pearl Farm raises Australian stock and is now managed by Ngoc Hien who uses Japanese technology. The Pearl Farm cafe and showroom were damaged by a recent storm and reconstruction is due for November.
The pearl farming process of which the first step is to nucleate the oyster with bits of old oyster shells. After nucleated, oysters are placed in cages, six per cage, which are then put on the sea bed. Cultured pearls are usually harvested after about two years.
To extract the pearl, the worker slides a knife between the oyster, taking care not to directly hit the pearl inside and scratch it.
Color variations of pearls may be black, white, yellow or pink or be shaded with different colors. Then the pearls are sorted by size, shape, color, quality, and go to the pearl markets.