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  1. #1

    Default Average size of South Sea pearl nuclei?

    Hi there,

    I'm new to this forum and decided to join after constant Google research kept on returning me here! I have a couple of South Sea pearl pendants, mainly drop shapes and one round. I bought them from reputable jewellery stores in person.

    How do you know the size of the pearl nuclei and is this important? At their 'fattest' point, my pearls range from about 10.5mm to around 15mm.

    Is it a case of the bigger the pearl, the bigger the nuclei? Or was the pearl kept inside the oyster for a longer time before harvest?

    Also, after reading horror stories of hollow/watery pearls with nuclei at the bottom, which shattered, should I be worried about this? My pearls seem heavy enough and are nice teardrop shapes. I bought them already made in jewellery.

    I look forward to your responses.

  2. #2
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Welcome!

    How great that you have some lovely SS pendants! Perhaps you've already seen this general info about SS pearls:

    http://www.pearl-guide.com/south-sea-pearls.shtml

    Based on this info, you shouldn't worry that the nacre is too thin. Generally speaking, yes, the bigger the nucleus, the bigger the pearl. Also, I've dropped lots of pearls, and never had one shatter; pearls are pretty tough!

    We do have a few forum members who could speak to what size beads are used.
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

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    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  3. #3
    First-graft Pearl R&B's Avatar
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    Gidday and welcome

    South Sea Pearl Nuclei come in quite a range of sizes.

    Mikey can explain that. The thickness variations of nacre are not only a result of the pearl remaining in the shell for a longer time.

    Considder a family you know with four or five kids that have grown. The kids will be all different sizes and shapes even though they come from the same parents.

    South Sea Pearls are just like that, every shell has different individual capabilities.

    Each farmer has his or her sizes they start with.

    Say you start with a nuclei of 8mm in a virgin shell. When harvested two years later the pearl should be 2 to 3 mm bigger. If it's a healthy pearl it will be replaced with a nuclei the same size as the pearl and the two years later 2 to 3 mm bigger again.

    At best we get four pearls in the life of a South Sea Pearl Shell (Pinctada Maxima). If we get a forth pearl, its not usually a gem grade and more likely a lower grade as Pearl Shell like us humans do deteriorate with age.

    What I've explained is the basic op's for South Sea Pearl Farming.

    Bron and I are actually useing three year cycles. Stay tuned for results but don't wait up at night for them. This Gig takes time and we are both deteriorating.

    Once again, welcome to the slow world of pearl growing.
    Rusty & Bronwyn Tully
    Torres Pearls Pty Ltd
    Turtlehead Island
    Escape River

    Faarrr North Queensland, Australia.

    www.torrespearls.com

  4. #4
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Alex's Avatar
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    That has cheered me up Rusty - I had always assumed that when a pearl was harvested from an oyster, that was the end of the line for the poor old oyster

    is the 'cycle' you described used for other types of pearl oyster, or just South Sea ones ?

    PS do you have 'retirement nets' for old oysters ? (just kidding)
    Alex

  5. #5
    Pearl Diver Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Mikeyy's Avatar
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    Hi Pearlharbourer,

    It is really hard to tell you the size of the nucleus. You could get an xray or try the laser light trick. I think Rusty had as good an answer as you can expect. Generally, the larger the nucleus the larger the pearl. However, some oyster are more generous then others when laying down nacre, so there are no hard and fast answers. Like people, some are more tickled about their jobs then others. Some oysters are bored with the entire prospect. They don't really care much and will even reject the nuclei. Bad attitude. While others are so excited about the idea of making you a pearl they over do it and go all baroque. Others just spin the nuclei around for fun creating a circled pearl. I think it mostly depends on their mood and individual work ethic. (years of scientific research revealed here) I don't think I would worry too much about having a hollow SS pearl. Given the size and shape you describe they must have been very artistic oysters. Lucky you!

  6. #6
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert KarinK's Avatar
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    LOL! I love your description, Mikeyy!

    - Karin

  7. #7
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    I seond that! Mikeyy and Rusty, THANK YOU for making it really easy reading for us the layman. Love the analogies.

  8. #8
    First-graft Pearl R&B's Avatar
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    Gidday All

    Alex, I'll let others speak for their respective industries. Shell retirement for us when harvesting means, if a bad pearl comes out and the inner shell appears "clean", they are used for mabe.

    Bron and I only reseed a shell if a quality pearl comes out. The retired shell that are not up to useing for mabe are cleaned up and sold to povo tourist's that cannot afford a South Sea Pearl.

    Back to you Pearlharbourer, South Sea Pearls are actually soft. You can drop them but stick to useing tennis balls when outside playing.

    Roll your pearls around slowly in your hand one at a time, if there are no colour changes then you have a good coating of nacre.

    Now that you are filled with this wonderful info, go buy some more, please.
    Rusty & Bronwyn Tully
    Torres Pearls Pty Ltd
    Turtlehead Island
    Escape River

    Faarrr North Queensland, Australia.

    www.torrespearls.com

  9. #9
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Rusty and Mikeyy,

    Thank you both, priceless information, and to echo Adeline, LOVE the analogies!
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

    facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  10. #10
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Mikkeyy..maybe pearl farmers should plan some sort of in house entertainment for the oysters - farmers play music to their cows after all. Perhaps you pearl farmers could experiment - a red nose and undersea juggling next time you are around a certain set of nets (you would have to keep careful records of which were entertained how)

  11. #11
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Hi Mikey
    I love to talk about oysters as though they were little critters, and they do provide their own entertainment- because they all "sing" together in a choir! But maybe they would like a soloist, once in a while, to teach them new tunes. The jugglers might do the trick, too, that is, inspire creativity.
    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.

  12. #12
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Hey, Mikeyy is a musician, too~~~~
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

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    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  13. #13
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    He told me he doesn't sing. But maybe he will make an exception for the next oyster bed he meets?
    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.

  14. #14

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    Thanks everybody for your responses, and to R&B and Mikeyy for their human analogies!

    R&B, when you talk about rolling a pearl around to check for no colour changes, meaning a good amount of nacre, do you mean I need to look for changes in the surface colour of the pearl? What is the difference between this and a pearl's overtone?

  15. #15
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Pearlharbourer, I just had to comment on your name. I chuckled a couple of times. That describes a lot of us!! Welcome!
    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.

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