Phu Quoc – Haven of Pearls

Phu Quoc island in the southern province of Kien Giang, VietNam, is not only famous for such authentic products as fish sauce and pepper, but also widely-known as the “number 1 pearl farm” in the country.

“Pearl production on the island may take one and a half years in comparison with up to two years in other regions like Quang Ninh or Nha Trang”, revealed Ho Phi Thuy, director of the Ngoc Hien Pearl Enterprise.

Thuy, with his rich experiences in pearl cultivation, has been dubbed by pearl traders “the billionaire of Phu Quoc pearl island”. It is not easy to produce a fine pearl, Thuy said, adding that he has to patiently select a pair of breeding oysters, take care of them, and choose the best time for transplantation before producing just one pearl.

According to him, oysters aren’t just about pearls: they produce nutritious food, materials for making lacquer paintings, and can be used for fine arts and handicraft items. Besides being jewelery, pearls can be used as medicine, he added, citing the belief that pearls grown well in salt water can protect wearers from the harmful effects of the wind and give them brighter and smoother skin.

Pearls can be in different colours but the most precious and rarest are the blue ones. However, in general, it is their glossiness and roundness that determines their value.

At present, almost all of his pearls are exported to Japan where people believe wearing pearls will bring them fortune. In 2009, Thuy earned about 4.5 billion VND (250,000 USD) from exports to this market.

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