What You Need to know about Natural Pearls

Posted by Francesco Fellini on

Natural Pearls

Pearls are formed when a mollusk produces layers of nacre (pronounced NAY-kur) around some type of irritant inside its shell. In natural pearls, the irritant may be another organism from the water. Natural pearls are extremely rare. Historically, many were found in the Persian Gulf; unfortunately, today, most have already been harvested. You may be able to purchase small, natural pearls, but they will be costly.

Abalone Pearls

are the most colorful of all pearl-producing mollusks, Though fairly plentiful, these rock-hugging snails rarely produce pearls. When they do, the cause is usually an inner shell or intestinal disturbance. Most commonly, the pearl is started when a small bit of shell or a parasite is perceived as a threat by the abalone. The foreign matter becomes incased in nacre and thus creates a natural pearl.The value of an abalone pearl is assessed by color, luster, shape, heft, and size. The ideal pearl is one with a combination of vibrant colors; a smooth, mirror-like luster; symmetrical shape; and appropriate heft (not hollow). It is estimated that over 100,000 snails need to be harvested to find just 1 possessing these qualities and measuring over 15 mm in size. The most common shape is one resembling a horn or shark tooth. Pearls of this nature have been known to reach great size, sometimes measuring over 12 cm length. Because abalone are hemophiliac, it is impossible to culture an abalone pearl.

Cassis Pearls

have that typical prismatic structure right under the clear surface which almost gives the impression to irradiate true flames directly from its nucleus to the person who watches the pearl, making it a very particular and fine pearl of its kind.

Generally with a yellow-orange bronzed color, this pearl can have various combinations of colors like beige, white and brown in a spotted pattern. Cassis pearl is produced by the Cassis Cornuta, which gives the name to the pearl, a particular gasteropode of the Cassidae family hailing from the Red Sea, Indian Ocean up to the nord of KwaZulu-Natal, Mozambique and Pacific Ocean.

The same seashell of the Cassis is a primary item of collection, while its mussel is hunted and roasted directly in its shell on the fire: because of these two factors man has become the main enemy of this living being, putting it at risk of extintion in some areas even if the rest of the world hasn’t put it in the red list yet.

In Queensland is, on the contrary, under strict observation since this mussel feeds itself mainly of the Crown-of-thorns sea star, well-known coral eater.

Melo pearls

do not come from an oyster or clam, but are formed in the shell of a very large sea snail belonging to the gastropod mollusc species known as Volutidae. The genus Melo is also commonly known as the Indian volute or "bailer shell", since the very large shells were used to bail water from canoes. Unlike common pearls, Melo pearls are not formed from layers of nacre. The chemical composition of the Melo pearl is calcite and aragonite. But while Melo pearls are non-nacreous, they are formed in the same way as more common pearls. It may take as long as several decades to grow a Melo pearl of significant size.

The maximum shell length of this species is up to 275 mm, commonly to 175 mm.

The notoriously large shell of Melo melo has a bulbous or nearly oval outline, with a smooth outer surface presenting distinguishable growth lines. The outside of shell colour is commonly pale orange, sometimes presenting irregular banding of brown spots, while the interior is glossy cream, becoming light yellow near its margin.

Quahog Pearls

are found from the shell species Mercenaria Mercenaria, a hard shelled clam found in the coastal waters between the gulf of St. Lawrence and the gulf of Mexico. While this species is fairly common the pearls they produce are not. Although found in colors of white, beige and brown Quahog are one of the only species of mollusk world wide to produce lavender and purple pearls. This rarity makes them not only beautiful but also very collectible.


Conch pearls

are one of the most rare and valuable of all natural pearls. It has been estimated that approximately 1 in 10,000 conch produce a pearl and of these only a few possess the color, shape and flame pattern necessary to be considered a gem. The color of conch pearls varies greatly. Pearls are most often found white, brown, beige, yellow, orange, pink, or red.  The latter two being the most sought after.  


Natural Oyster Pearl

The most well known of all natural pearls are those that come from Oysters. 
Before the dawn of the cultured pearl industry ( early 1900's) all pearls were natural. These pearls, coveted by the very wealthy, provided a lively hood for millions world wide. Divers, boat captains, pearl traders and jewelers all made a living from natural pearls.
Traditional oyster beds found in The Persian Gulf, Gulf of Mannar and the Red Sea dominated the world pearl market through out much of history.
In the fifteenth century a new pearl source was found. In 1498, during his third voyage, Columbus is said to have discovered pearls off the coast of Venezuela. This discovery initiated a pearl rush which led to the exploration of the Pacific Coast. Indeed most of the Americas were explored by European sailors in search of Gold, Silver and Pearls.
Today natural pearls continue to be a treasure coveted by many. Unlike cultured pearls they have had no intervention by human hands. Rare and beautiful, they are a natural gem worthy of royalty.

    La Mia Cara Jewelry - Unique and Assertive

    La Mia Cara Jewelry - Unique and Assertive

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