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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    Default Chinese Freshwater Cultured Pearls Beaded with Baroque Freshwater Cultured Pearls

    G&G eBrief

    This contributor recently examined a strand of Chinese freshwater cultured pearls loaned by Jeremy Shepherd of Pearl Paradise, Los Angeles. They were produced at the same farm in Jiangsu Province as the so-called Souffl? pearls ("beaded" with mud) that began appearing on the market in September 2009, according to Mr. Shepherd.

    The strand originally consisted of 23 cultured pearls weighing a total of 66.8 g; two were sacrificed for destructive testing. They were of baroque shape, ranging from 17.0 x 13.6 mm to 21.0 x 13.6 mm. Colors varied from white with a distinct purplish green overtone to light purple, purplish green, orange, and bronze with varying overtones; all displayed a pronounced metallic luster.

    X-radiography of 13 of the cultured pearls showed beads with an off-round shape and features that strongly suggested that nonbeaded freshwater cultured pearls had been used. One sample was sawn in half, revealing a concentric structure surrounded by an outer rim of nacre. A second sample was broken apart with a jeweler?s hammer, confirming that a white freshwater cultured pearl of baroque shape had been used as a bead.

    According to Mr. Shepherd, these cultured pearls were produced using the same type of mussel as the ?Souffl?s,? which some believe to be a hybrid of the Chinese Hyriopsis cumingii and the Japanese Hyriopsis schlegelii, though it may be a local variety of H. cumingii. It is highly likely that both the ?Souffl? pearls? and the ?pearl-beaded? samples described here are produced inside the mussel's mantle, probably in a later growth phase, by making use of existing pearl sacs that stemmed from a previous harvest.

    - Elisabeth Strack
    Gemmologisches Institut Hamburg, Germany

  2. #2
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Hi Jeremy
    Do the second graft pearls follow the shape of the baroque implant - so that if they used a round pearl they would get a round pearl? I am unclear as to what the point is - why not simply leave the nucleating baroque pearl to grow a bit longer, or do second graft pearls grow faster . have better colour/lustre?

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    No, the shape is more similar to the fireballs because of the incision in the pearl sac. Also, the pearls they use to implant are more or less junk pearls. The junk pearls are put into the hybrid near the very dorsal edge in existing pearl sacs. This is the area of the shell that has the unique colors and metallic sheen. They experiment with just about everything over there.

  4. #4
    Pearl Girl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Ashley's Avatar
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    What no pictures of this treasure, Jeremy? C'mon- show us your pearls!
    Ashley McNamara, CEO
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    I love that ebrief in the Pearl Paradise pages! Elisabeth said so, so it's more than just a rumor......
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    I knew they were the real deal when I smashed and then sawed a few of them in half. But it is always best if this is independently confirmed by a very well-respected lab such as Strack's.

  8. #8
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
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    Very cool.
    GemGeek
    The World Is My Oyster!

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