As a jewel for the royal and noble and as a valuable trade gem through millenaries, the pearl has been a symbol of wealth and prosperity at all times.
The natural pearl is very rare in present time and to find a single natural pearl of any quality 10-15.000 shells must be opened. As the word indicates, the natural pearl comes into existence naturally without any interference from humans. A small foreign object, often an algae or a parasite, finds its way into the soft parts of the pearl oyster or conch. If the shell cannot get rid of the intruder it will protect itself by adding layers of its own material around the foreign body. A natural pearl is born, nature’s own perfection.
Of the few natural pearls found in pearl oysters today, most come from Sri Lanka or the Persian Gulf. They will be quite small and whitish. But not only mussels and oysters carry pearls. Also a small number of conches can give birth to a natural pearl.
Natural Pearls – Conch Pearls
Few people are familiar with this rare and highly appreciated gem, its rarity rendering this pearl highly valued. The Conch pearl originates from the large conch shell, the Queen Conch (Strombus giga) which grows naturally in most parts of the Caribbean. The Queen Conch is mainly harvested for its meat which is a favoured delicacy in the area. After harvest, the meat is examined for an eventual pearl. Only one of 10-15.000 conches will reveal a pearl, a pearl of varying quality.
The Conch pearl exists thus far only as a natural pearl, mainly due to the technical hitches of grafting a conch shell. However, small research projects have been attempting the process though without commercial results so far.
The colours vary from porcelain white to light rose going through dark pink to orange-red.
The value of the conch pearl is determined by the size, which is measured in carat, the shape, the colour and the unique flame structure visible on the surface of selected pearls.
Marc’Harit is one rare distributor of this valuable fine pearl in Scandinavia.