Diving for Pearls: Interesting Investment or Waste of Precious Time?

Thanks to the invention of Cultured Pearls, diving for pearls is now a thing of the past.

Our world is filled with many precious gemstones. The pearl is one of the world’s most beautiful gems, and is the only one naturally created by Mother Nature’s living creatures. Some having taken to the age-old, dangerous art of diving for pearls. Is this an investment that’s actually worth the hassle?

Deep Sea Pearl Diving
Deep Sea Pearl Diving. Image Source: Flickr

Investing in Pearl Jewelry

You can invest in jewelry made of pearl, which  can earn you a reasonable amount of money for your return. Chanel costume jewelry or a strand of Mikimoto cultured pearls goes for more than $1,000.

Non-white pearls are the highest earners as far as pearl prices are concerned. Natural colored pearls are expensive because they are scarce. That’s right. They are hard to find. For instance, in 2015 a black and gray pearl necklace sold for a staggering $5.1 million, setting a new record.

On the other hand, in 2009, a one-strand natural pearl necklace with all white pearls sold for about $23,500. It is not often you’ll find such amazing white gems being auctioned. However, when they are put up, they go for high prices.

The only problem with jewelry is that you will have to wait for the items to appreciate. This may take a reasonable amount of time. Patience is very key.

Hunting for Pearls in the deep seas is very dangerous work.
Hunting for Pearls in the deep seas is very dangerous work. Image Source: Wikipedia

DIY: How to Dive for Pearls

Deep sea diving pearls is probably the best way to make profit out of them gems. Experts usually say that the best way to make money out of pearls is not by investing in them, but rather investing in equipment needed in dive and hunt for them.

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There are different types of pearl diving equipment that can be used during searches. The simple way is to dive is with just a loincloth. The loincloth was used by the Japanese ama for over 2000 years, until the 1960s. Today they wear a mask, fins and a wetsuit in most cases.

A proper wetsuit is appropriate for the water conditions you will be in. Fins will assist you in swimming while in water and the mask is for a clear vision. However, a skill is needed in swimming for this deep sea diving adventure.

For deep diving, you will have to invest in a SCUBA gear. The gear will help you stay down underwater longer. For shallow hunting, you might not need a SCUBA and fins. This is because you will be probably be wading instead of diving. Both a wetsuit and a mask are mandatory to keep you warm and help you see clearly underwater.

Man uses rope and basket to help with his pearl diving venture.
Man uses rope and basket to help with his pearl diving venture. Image Source: Angies Diary

Diving for Pearls… Realistically Smart or Naturally Dumb?

Alternatively, you can hire a company to take you to a location that is known to have naturally occurring pearls. They can even take you to a pearl farm so you can check out cultured pearls.

The challenge of going to different locations is that you may need to have different types of pearl diving equipment.  For instance, in Dubai, you will have to wear a cotton hoodie and baggy trousers to protect yourself against jellyfish stings.

If you are planning to do your own pearl dive, you must acquire a shucking knife. This will assist you in shucking the mollusk, likely an oyster. If you choose to go on a guided expedition, a professional will assist you with the shucking.

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Be on the watch because in some locations there are local regulations for sizes of mussels or oysters that can be used for commercial purposes.

Pearl diving may look like a glamorous tranquility-filled job, but it's dangerous, hard work.
Pearl diving may look like a glamorous tranquility-filled job, but it’s dangerous, hard work. Image Source: Flickr

Grading the Gems You Find When Diving for Pearls

Finding a pearl is just half the battle. A commercially viable pearl is hard to find. In fact, you may only find ONE commercially viable pearl within about 10,000 oysters. Of course, sometimes you can get lucky.

Pearls are graded according to their:

In regard to pearl size, the bigger it is the better. A spherical pearl is usually a hot cake on the pearl market. Distorted shape pearls, like a baroque-shaped gem, is basically worthless.

Photo via PBS

The value in relation to the color of the pearl largely depends on what kind of a pearl it is. When grading the gemstones, the smoother they are and the more light reflected by the gem, the more valuable it is. Non-marred, almost flawless pearls are the most preferred.

Pearls with a thick and an iridescent coating on the outside (opaque luster) are usually the best. Much like when buying diamonds, you want your pearls to have amazing luster.

Whether your pearl is cultured or natural, how well it matches other pearls when creating jewelry pieces consequently effects the quality of the pearl jewelry itself. If your gem ranks well in all these categories, you have the a valuable pearl in your hands.

Thanks to the invention of Cultured Pearls, diving for pearls is now a thing of the past.
Thanks to the invention of Cultured Pearls, diving for pearls is now a thing of the past. Image Source: Flickr

Diving for pearls is a shortcut to investing in pearls, while eliminating middle-men. However, it’s hard, dangerous work that experts say should be left to the professionals. Plus, your chances of finding valuable gemstones are second-to-none.

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So, if you have no deep sea diving experience, or a professional guide to help lead the way, pearl diving may not be such a hot idea. It may be safer and wiser to simply shop online for peal jewelry instead.

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Abigael Shem

The Pearl Source Blogger at Content Marketing Geek
Abigael Shem is a Content Marketing Geek with eight years' experience in academic, content, research and creative writing, editing and proofreading. When she's not writing, she enjoys singing, dancing, hiking, traveling and sports, especially football and basketball. Abigael currently blogs for The Pearls of Wisdom blog.
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