“Conch Pearls” are among the rarest and most valuable of all natural pearls. It has been estimated that approximately 10,000 conch must be harvested before a single pearl is found. An exceptional piece (pearls over 10 carats and exhibiting a strong chatoyant like flame pattern) may take as many as 50,000.
Though pearls can be found in a variety of conch, it is the pearl from the Strombus Gigas or Queen Conch, that has become the most widely known and collected. This is due in part to the wide variety of colors that it produces. Pearls can be found in colors of white, brown, beige, orange, pink and red, the latter two being the most highly prized.
Fished for food from all over the Caribbean and Central American oceans, conch meat is a staple of the local diet as well as an important export product. Finding a gem-quality conch pearl is known amongst fishermen as “the lotto”. High prices are paid for such pearls, further adding to their allure. Over the last century, conch pearls have captured the attention of prestigious designers and jewelers alike. Conch pearls can be found in the world’s most exclusive jewelry stores.
Like all pearls, the conch pearl is produced by a living organism and is sensitive to acids and solvents. The much sought after pink color is prone to fading with prolonged exposure to sunlight. Therefore, as with all pearls, care should be taken. For those who seek the finest in natural gems, the conch pearl offers a beauty and rarity that no other can duplicate.
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