Freshwater pearls are harvested in their shells and then sent to a specialist factory that is responsible for cleaning and sorting the pearls by size and shape. After this process has been completed the pearls are considered ready for the processing factories. The pearls are then pre-treated (called maeshori) in a warm and cold chemical solution and then bleached and/or. The pearls that exhibit a strong natural colour will go through the maeshori only and not be bleached or dyed.
After the pearls are treated, they are drilled and then polished with a mixture of cornmeal and wax. Finally they are matched into temporary strands, which are then matched again into hanks. Hanks are composed of 5 to 10 temporary strands and are considered wholesale-ready.
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