The first village specializing in mother-of-pearl sea cultivation of the northeastern region lies in Van Don Island District, 60km away from Halong City.
Characteristics: This trade has flourished over the past 40 years. This facilitates the cultivation of pearls of different ages.
The island district of Van Don has 10,969 ha of tideland, and tens of thousands hecta of water surface of bays, lagoons in Bai Tu Long Bay, which make them ideal for promoting the trade.
Van Don boasts four kinds of pearls: Ma Thi, Vo Day, Canh Dai and Jamson, which are of high export value. Given its vast water surface and favourable climate and environment, Van Don has advantageous conditions for mother-of-pearl cultivation.
Tourists can go boating to visit different “sea farms” of mother-of-pearl cultivation. One will feel surprised at and interested in the buoys and pearl cages bobbing to the ebb and flow of waves.
In the past, mother-of-pearl cultivation followed manual techniques. Pearl cages were hung at one end of bamboo poles. They were, therefore, small in quantity and yielded low economic efficiency. Farmers now have applied advanced techniques; for example, hanging the cages at the depth of 2.5 meters so that in the ebb tide, they cannot either float to the surface or sink to the seabed as other species will eat the pearls or the pearls will suck mud.
Another method is to use bamboo poles to connect pearl cages into several hundred square meter areas; each cage is 0.5m away from each other.