First of all, understand that not every oyster contains a pearl. The odds of finding an oyster with a pearl inside can be as low as one in several thousand! So don’t expect to find multiple pearls each time you look for them.

Have you ever wandered the beach and found oysters with pearls in them? If so, you’re lucky! Oysters with pearls can be worth a lot of money. But how do you find them? In this article, I will share some tips for finding oysters on the beach with pearls in them.

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Which beaches should you search on?

To find oysters on the beach, you’ll need to be in an area with a high probability of having oysters. So what does that mean?

Oysters are found in the intertidal zone — any area of the beach that’s submerged at high tide and exposed at low tide. If you can’t access this part of your beach at low tide, you won’t be able to find any oysters!

Searching for pearls on a beach

Rocks make up most of a rocky shoreline. If there aren’t any rocks on your shoreline, then the chances of finding oysters are pretty slim.

Being in this zone can be potentially life-threatening and dangerous. It is best to take the necessary precautions, including not going oyster fishing alone. Also, informing others of your location and expected time of return will improve your chance of survival if you were to be injured.

A safer option is to go to a flat, sandy, and less frequented beach. Walking at low tide along the shoreline can increase your chances of finding an oyster. Pearls are often found in shallow water, so the best beaches to search for vary by region.

If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, look for oysters along the Washington and Oregon coasts; if you’re in South Carolina or Georgia, make your way down to the Florida coast.

What time is best?

The best times of year to find oysters with pearls in them are during spring or fall—they tend not to appear during the summer months because they’re too hot and dry for them to grow properly.

Additionally, early morning is better than late afternoon when searching for oysters: there’s less chance that someone else has already picked up all of them by then.

Tools for oyster hunting

Bring a bucket with you when you go to the beach. You can use this for holding your oyster finds. Alternatively, if there are no buckets around, try using a plastic bag instead.

An oyster-opening tool is a small, triangular-shaped knife that you can use to open an oyster. You’ll need to cut the top of the shell off and pry it open, and once you do that, you’ll have access to the meat inside—and hopefully some pearls!

If you’re interested in purchasing an oyster-opening tool, they’re available at most grocery stores or hardware stores.

Also, remember to wear a protective glove when opening an oyster. This will prevent cuts from the oyster-opening tool or fragments of the oyster shell.

Oyster Opening tool and Protective Gloves

Tips for finding oysters with pearls

  • Oysters are sometimes found in tide pools, which are areas of the beach that are exposed during low tide. Oysters can be found near the water’s edge and tend to be shallow, so they don’t require much effort to reach.
  • Look for oysters that are closed. If the oyster is open, it is less likely to have pearls in it.
  • Examine the shell of the oyster to see if it is damaged. Damaged oysters are less likely to contain pearls because they have likely been collected and opened by someone else.

How big will a pearl get inside an oyster?

The size of the pearl depends on the size of the oyster. The larger the oyster, the larger its pearls tend to be. This is because pearls are formed from layers of nacre deposited by an irritant in an oyster’s shell.

As such, if you find a small oyster with a large pearl inside it, that pearl will probably have been there for longer than if you found an equally sized oyster with a much smaller pearl inside it.

A larger (and more valuable) pearl was likely formed over many years rather than just one or two seasons.

Do you need an oyster expert with you?

You may be wondering, “Do I need an oyster expert with me?” Well, if you’re not a fisherman or have no experience with the ocean, then absolutely yes!

If you’re looking to find pearls on your own, then it’s best to have someone who knows what they’re doing lead the way.


With a little effort, you can find oysters with pearls on the beach. The best time to look for oysters is after a storm or during low tide when they’re exposed by crashing waves or receding waters.

Be sure to bring along a bucket or bag with you so that you can collect them safely.

About the Author


I am a pearl and oyster enthusiast who loves to share her knowledge and experiences about fashion with the world. I am neither a certified gemologist nor a reseller of pearls.

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