Pearl Specialist Mini Course
Introduction to Conch Pearls
What are Conch Pearls?
Conch (pronounced “konk”) pearls aren’t true pearls. Produced by the gastropod Strombus gigas, or Queen Conch, conch pearls have no nacre. Instead, they contain the mineral aragonite, the principal constituent of nacre, in a different configuration. While some still consider these to be “pearls,” we at IGS prefer to use the term “calcareous concretions” to describe these gems. However, we also acknowledge the persistent and popular use of the name “conch pearl.”
Commonly called “the pink pearl,” these gems are exceedingly rare. About one in 10,000 conchs creates a pearl, and only 10% of these are gem-quality. These organic gems are perfect for those seeking something rare from nature, though they do come with a hefty price tag.
Conch Pearl Buying Quality Factors
The Four Cs of colored gemstone grading aren’t the best way to evaluate either nacreous or non-nacreous pearl quality. Instead, the calcareous concretion’s color, flame structure, luster, shape/symmetry, texture, and size determine quality.
Conch pearls occur in the same colors as conch shells: orange, yellow, brown, white, and, most famously, pink. Brown, the most common color, generally has a low value. Orange and yellow hues are more desirable than
A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison’s interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth’s geological processes began in her elementary school’s environmental club. When she isn’t writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.
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