Pearl culture in abalone has come a long way since 1897 when the first implantation (a small natural pearl attached to a horsehair inserted into the pallial cavity of Haliotis tuberculata) was made by Louis Boutan at the Roscoff Laboratory in the south of France. During this same period, Japan's "King of Pearls" Kokichi Mikimoto also attempted (with lackluster results) to culture blister pearls in awabi (abalone) before moving on to a more pliable mollusc, the pearl oyster. During the first quarter of the 20th Century, Louis Boutan developed the basic technology for culture of blister pearls in abalone. In the mid-1950's, Tokyo University's Dr. Kan Uno made improvements on Boutan's technique for producing attached half pearls, and over the past decade, the Jo (Yo) family of Korea Abalone Pearls have enjoyed some success in the culture of abalone free pearls.

I produced my first abalone pearls during 1986-87 using a modification of the Uno technique for producing blister pearls in abalones. This was followed by the invention of eight unique processes for producing both attached blister pearls and free round and baroque pearls in abalone and other Mollusca. These processes are described in U.S. Patent No. 5,347,951 and patents pending. I believe it is fair to say that these procedures currently represent the cutting edge in technology for producing pearls in abalone and other shell-bearing Mollusca. Pacific Pearl Culture Ltd. (PPC) is a spin-off R & D company arising from this patented research. Today, PPC exists to both carry on further research in pearl culture and to license its proprietary abalone pearl culture technology to abalone growers and researchers.


Successfully growing pearls in abalones is normally very difficult, and to be successful, one must know what one is about......not unlike the process of culturing abalone seed. Moreover, to produce abalone pearls on a commercial scale, the grower must have the technology which permits the company to nucleate large numbers of your animals quickly, inexpensively, and safely. Depending upon the location and size of the abalone culture facility, there are several paths to chose from for licensing this technology:

Scientific License
This category of license permits the grower to try out the patented technology to ascertain whether the pearl culture processes are appropriate for growing abalone pearls at the grower's particular locale and level of abilities. Should the grower later decide to use this technology commercially, he/she will be obliged to obtain a Commercial License (see below). The activation period and number of nucleations permitted under a Scientific License will vary from case to case and as a consequence, are negotiable.

The cost for a Scientific License is modest, and basically covers the cost of the legals for the license, a copy of the patent, a training video, plus mailing and shipping costs. Pacific Pearl Culture Ltd. can also provide you with nucleus molds at cost plus 30%, and can advise you as to suppliers for raw nucleus material and other material and equipment items. You are welcome to keep for your personal use, or give away, pearls produced under the terms of the Scientific License. Should you elect, however, to sell the pearls you produced using the technology, you may of course do so, but you must pay to Pacific Pearl Culture Ltd. a royalty of 50% of the gross revenues from these sales. A help line is available for all categories of technology licenses (Commercial, Scientific and Special Scientific) for those times when problems arise.

Commercial License
This license is nominally in effect for five years, and the fee schedule includes an up front nucleation fee plus a royalty of 10% of the gross revenues following the sales of the harvested pearls. The entry level for this license is 3,000 nucleations, and entitles the licensee to receive abalone pearl implantation and "knowhow" training by Pacific Pearl Culture Ltd., which is in addition to a copy of the patent and the standard training video.

Special Scientific License
Those abalone growers, researchers and graduate students from third world countries, who are on a tight budget, may apply for a Special Scientific License to use the abalone pearl technology owned by Pacific Pearl Culture Ltd. Licensees holding a Special Scientific License operate under the same conditions provided by a Scientific License (see above) excepting that the fee (but not the standard royalty arrangement) is waived in the case of the special license.

For further information and/or application for a technology license, contact Dr. Peter V. Fankboner at:

Pacific Pearl Culture Ltd.
3327 Coy Avenue
Port Coquitlam, B.C. Canada V3C 3V4



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Anon. 1993. Gemstones - Les Gemmes. Two-sided 33" x 45" colour poster, Geological Survey of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Brunet, Robin. 1992. Casting pearls before bureaucrats. British Columbia Report Magazine, 20 January: 22.

Casselton, Valerie. 1996. Pearl of wisdom. The Vancouver Sun, Life Section, 5 February: C5.

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Ingram, Jay. 1996. The largest cultured abalone pearl in the world. Discovery Channel interview aired 29 January 1996.

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Morgan, Keith. 1989. A pearl of an idea. The Province, 10 March; 30.

Pringle, Valori. World's record abalone pearl grown in British Colulmbia. CTV interview on "Canada AM". Aired 13 & 24 February 1996.

Shirai, Shohei. 1994. Pearls and Pearl Oysters of the World. Marine Planning Company, Okinawa, Japan. Pp. 109.

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Wiegner, Kathleen. 1996. Mother of all pearls. Los Angeles Times, 7 February, Business: 5.

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