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The Conch Natural Pearl - treasure from the Caribbean

This rare Caribbean pearl from the sea snail Strombus Gigas is fascinating because of its rich play of colours.

Occurrence

The conch natural pearl is one of the rarest pearls in the world. Its creation is due to a pure chance of nature. Every year at the most 2000 — 3000 conch pearls are fished from the flat waters around the coasts of Florida, the Bahamas, the Yucatans and the Antilles islands. Only 15 — 20% are suitable for making jewellery.All previous attempts at cultivating them have failed because the Strombus Gigas sea snail that produces this pearl is extremely sensitive. The complicated spiral form of the snail shell means that it is not possible to reach the pearl-forming part without endangering the life of the animal.

Characteristics

The conch pearl has a specific weight of 2.85 and is thus heavier than any other pearl. It is also harder and more resistant. It is above all enchanting because of its fascinating play of colours: from white to delicate pink to luminous pink, or from cream to olive to chocolate brown. The most noble pearls show on their surface a wavy structure like the finest silk or in some cases they are strongly grained. Unlike other pearls the conch is evaluated in carats. The normal sizes are between 2 and 6 carat; pearls of 8 to 12 carat are already a rarity. 20 carat pearls and larger are unique collectors’ items.

The stocks of conch pearls are in danger

The increasing problem world-wide of environmental pollution is also endangering the stocks of the strombus gigas. They have already been drastically reduced in extensive parts of the Caribbean. That is why a ten-year long fishing ban was proclaimed a few years ago for the coasts around Columbia. The fishing bans will probably be extended. This means that the conch pearl will remain precious, rare and exclusive.

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