The Caribbean is home to another rare gem material that is produced by a native shell animal called the conch (pronounced “conk”). Like their akoya counterparts in Japan, conch pearls are the result of an intrusion in the conch’s shell being surrounded by layers of nacre by the conch.
Unlike the Japanese cultured pearl, however, the conch pearl is a natural pearl with no starter bead being placed inside to cause the pearl to form. All conch pearls will be natural which makes every conch pearl unique and rare.
One of the most interesting aspects of the conch pearl is the flame structure which is shown in the photograph on the right. (Photo courtesy of Neil Goldberg of Sunlion Jewelry, Key West, Florida) This phenomena is due to the layering of the nacre by the conch that gives the pearl this unusual effect when light is transmitted through the out layers of nacre.
Regardless of size, shape, or color, conch pearls are one of natures rarest gems so don’t miss them when shopping in the islands.
Neil, from Sunlion Jewelers in Key West, sent the Carigem office this link to the Pearls exhibition being held at various locations across the country . Click Here to visit the info site. The exhibition features more than 600 objects and nearly half a million pearls. See some of the world’s oldest, largest, and most valuable pearls.