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Pen (Penn) Pearl Necklace

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  • Pen (Penn) Pearl Necklace

    Hi All,

    Carolyn Ehret has given me permission to share this interesting and very rare piece with you all............of course, the photo is used with her permission........... Thanks very much, Carolyn..............
    Click image for larger version

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    A rare necklace of Pen (Penn) pearls, approx 4-7.9mm, 26 inches long. Pearls were collected over a 10 year period in Gulf of Mexico. These are nacreous pearls with orient and lustre, chocolate black color. She says Pen pearls are often quite soft and break apart easily, but these being nacreous are not fragile that way. The Pen shell often is half nacreous and half non nacreous.

    The pendant is a natural oyster pearl. (I think the cluster of 3 stones at the bottom are diamonds). We have so little information about these rare pearls here on the forum, much less a photo of a whole strand! I thought the oyster pearl unusual and lovely also.

    Jeremy also is showing two lots of Pen pearls in the natural pearls section of his website.

    Pattye
    so many pearls, so little time
    Last edited by pattye; 11-01-2007, 07:03 AM.

  • #2
    That's one interesting necklace It couldn't have been easy to come up with such a great design with such unusual pearls, but it certainly works... IMO.

    Thanks for posting

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    • #3
      The nacreous ones are rare. The pearl has to form in the back of the shell to be nacreous.

      Penn pearls are completely the byproduct of the mollusk fishing industry. I received an email a few months ago from GIA asking if I had every heard of any culturing attempts so I did some research. It is just not viable because the pearls are typically a pretty hard sell - even the naturals.

      The non-nacreous pearls will not last. The dry up and crack, and really cannot be drilled. The nacreous pearls are better and have some decent luster, but about 70% of the pearls found are non-nacreous.
      Jeremy Shepherd
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      • #4
        interesting necklace from the rarity standpoint, but the chocolate covered raisin look doesn't exactly do it for me personally.
        Kevin Canning
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Kevin Canning
          the chocolate covered raisin look doesn't exactly do it for me personally.
          Funny - the exact phrase came to my mind when I saw the pearls. It is a fascinating necklace, but I would think of raisinettes every time I looked at it...

          Thank you for sharing the picture & story, Pattye (and Carolyn) and for the additional background information, Jeremy. I learned something new today...
          John
          John
          Pearls are for everybody...

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          • #6
            I have always wondered, and now I have the chance to ask: what is the name of the creature that produces Penn pearls. I tried looking up Penn shell, but while I get a some results, there are not many and none are from shell identification or taxonomic sites (or if there are, they were nowhere near the top of my search results).

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            • #7
              The pen shell is otherwise called the Pinna rugosa or the Atrina maura. You won't find a lot of reference to either of them. But you should find reference to the Pinna nobilis in Strack.

              Jeremy Shepherd
              President and Founder
              PearlParadise.com, Inc.
              The PearlParadise.com YouTube Channel
              PearlParadise.com on Flickr
              PearlParadise.com on Facebook
              Some of My Favorite Pearly Finds on Instagram

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              • #8
                Thanks Jeremy!

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                • #9
                  Thanks Jeremy, for the additional information. I missed the connection between the Pinna shell when I checked Strack for information.

                  Pattye
                  so many pearls, so little time

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                  • #10
                    It would be really cool to devote 10 years to building something like this necklace. It would take a certain amount of vision, and a willingness to commit oneself to collecting for the sake of collecting, just to see what would come of it in the end. I think it's really cool! Raisins indeed! I like the vision that went into it! Does anybody know how much it's worth?

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                    • #11
                      Atrina vexillium

                      Originally posted by jshepherd View Post
                      The pen shell is otherwise called the Pinna rugosa or the Atrina maura. You won't find a lot of reference to either of them. But you should find reference to the Pinna nobilis in Strack.
                      Thanks, Jeremy. On one of my large, irregular Atrina vexillium (per GIA) there is an area of orient not present on most of the pearl; so I guess some formation took place far back in the shell. With Caitlin's help, I posted a couple of photographs in another thread. Your comment clears up a mystery for me.

                      Tom Stern,MD

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                      • #12
                        This thread brings back some fond memories...back to 1991 when we would try to grow pearls on anything that had nacre in it. We started raising many varieties of mollusks in those days -not only Pteria and Pinctada- and we were able of obtaining some Mabe on Atrina maura...but the loose cultured pearls were HELLISH!!!
                        I still have nightmares -from time to time- when I remember that we tried to use these Pinnidae

                        Unfortunately, even the nacreous pearls are brittle and have a tendency to crack.

                        I would believe that -for those looking for something truly unusual- this necklace should be worth a King's Ransom.
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