The preferred locations for pearl farms are the many atolls that make up the islands of French Polynesia. Atolls are basically rings of rock and coral remnants of sunken volcanoes from an era long before human habitation. Atolls offer some protection from the fury that Mother Nature regularly unleashes upon the South Pacific Ocean.
Many atolls have small airstrips, which were built to support pearl farming operations. Everything must be brought in by boat or plane, including fresh water.
Five groups of islands make up French Polynesia, but almost all pearl farms are found in the largest and smallest groups—the Tuamotu Archipelago and the Gambier Islands. Some of the very first pearls were produced on Bora Bora, but pearls are no longer farmed there.
The following short video offers an inside look at a Tahitian pearl farming operation on a remote atoll in French Polynesia.