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Thread: Pearl blemishes

  1. #1
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    Default Pearl blemishes

    What causes different types of pearl blemishes eg pits? Is there an authoritative source that discusses this?

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    Once upon a Cortez Pearl... Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert CortezPearls's Avatar
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    Hello CMN!
    Excellent question...and I wish we could have an equally good answer to it.
    I would be quite qualified to answer this question since I was a pearl farmer for the last...30 years? Seems like yesterday!

    It all boils down to the "Pearl sac". As you know, the "pearl sac" is a sac-like group of cells that originated in -or from- the mantle's epithelial cells (those that are in direct contact with the shell). If the pearl sac has "errors", these will translate unto the pearl as flaws.

    What are these errors? Unfortunately, very few people (only one, to my knowledge) have been able to "follow" the development of the pearl sac in its initial phase after pearl surgery, and at that time the technology was inadequate. At best, we can only surmise what really happens with the pearl sac. so, these errors are cause by a group of cells that might develop a malformation or just have a hormonal imbalance (hormones are essential for pearl production) and depending on the type of mantle cell errors we have is the type of flaw you will end up.

    I donīt remember a source for information...since I donīt work at the Cortez Pearl farm I no longer have access to a large amount of books and articles I had. But let me look into my library and see what I can find about this subject.
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno
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    Perpetual Pearl Student Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lisa c's Avatar
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    Thank you Douglas, what an excellent answer, very cool. And which mantle tissue might have the errors, the donor or the mother? Amazing science.

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    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    The pearl sac forms from the donor tissue, so I'd expect the donor mantle would have the error.

    In cultured pearls, anyway. If it's a natural pearl there is no donor, so then it would have to be the oyster's own mantle tissue.
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 11-26-2020 at 08:26 PM.

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    Once upon a Cortez Pearl... Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert CortezPearls's Avatar
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    Quite correct Pearl Dreams...but not all is written in stone...or pearl, for this matter

    You see, the original mantle piece might be FLAWLESS...you actually select the donor based upon this and the shell's beauty. Thing is, once it has been inserted into the body of the host oyster (or mussel) the mantle tissue starts degrading, parts of it die (sometimes all of the tissue dies) and other survive, there is some putrefaction there...so, a flaw that was not on the donor may show up anyway.

    So:
    1) If you select a "bad donor" (something you would not do!) you will get the flaws for the donor oyster's tissue.
    2) The donor tissue was PERFECT, but after the grafting operation it just has "bad luck" and the flaws are created there.
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno
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    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Growing pearls relies on a tiny (usually) around 1mm sliver of donor mantle growing into a maybe 10mm circumference balloon around a nucleus. It's remarkable that it happens without great incident as much as it does.
    Incidentally, why such a small piece? Has anyone experimented with bigger? Is 1mm just 'done because that's just how it's done and always was done?
    Author:Pearls A Practical Guide published by Crowood Jan 2021
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    Douglas, thank you for your response - very interesting. It seems to me that there is a lot of discussion about pearl blemishes but not much understanding as to the underlying causes. I think it is something that consumers could be better informed about. It could aid in an appreciation of pearls along the entire spectrum of surface quality, from blemished to flawless.

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    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    There isn't much understanding CMN because a lot of the time we simply don't know. It's the same with pearl colour. Why do pearls have colour at all? It's dark where they live usually, they don't need to look fancy to pull a hot mate.
    Author:Pearls A Practical Guide published by Crowood Jan 2021
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    Perpetual Pearl Student Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lisa c's Avatar
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    Wendy, lol!
    Whispers the missus come see my bissus,
    she hopes the Earl won’t see her pearl...

    (I’ve been reading about the Earl Buckingham, and his appetites/enormous appreciation of life’s bounty. I wouldn’t want him to see and consequently lust after any rarity or pearl in my possession. My lines are a little too opaque)
    Last edited by lisa c; 11-28-2020 at 09:15 PM.

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    Once upon a Cortez Pearl... Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert CortezPearls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pearlescence View Post
    Growing pearls relies on a tiny (usually) around 1mm sliver of donor mantle growing into a maybe 10mm circumference balloon around a nucleus. It's remarkable that it happens without great incident as much as it does.
    Incidentally, why such a small piece? Has anyone experimented with bigger? Is 1mm just 'done because that's just how it's done and always was done?
    A lot of experiments have been done over the years about mantle size. Mikimoto actually had a technique where he fully wrapped the bead in mantle tissue! Then smaller amounts were used until it was decided (due to better results) that a proportion of 1/3 of the size of the bead would be the best size of mantle to use for pearl production. But I always preferred MORE mantle, pieces as large as 7 mm sometimes...of course, using beads as large as 10 mm in diameter.
    I always felt that the smaller the tissue, the lesser chance of obtaining a pearl...but the smaller the mantle is, the rounder the pearl shape is.

    So, it all depends on the species of animal used, the farm and the technician.
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno
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    Once upon a Cortez Pearl... Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert CortezPearls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMN View Post
    Douglas, thank you for your response - very interesting. It seems to me that there is a lot of discussion about pearl blemishes but not much understanding as to the underlying causes. I think it is something that consumers could be better informed about. It could aid in an appreciation of pearls along the entire spectrum of surface quality, from blemished to flawless.
    I have always viewed pearls as any other natural product: wood, leather, bone, shell...they come from living organisms, and life is sometimes...hard! And living things will bear the "scars" of life on Earth, and it makes it all Unique. Thing is that people are so used to mass-production that they expect the same of things that are simply unique! Heck! The old Latin name for pearl is Unios and that is where we get the modern word "Unique".
    We just should know better...but we've been spoiled by mass produced goods.
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno
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    Your Life evolves in the same way a Pearl grows: with continuous layers of experiences/nacre that add to the Story of your Life on Earth and make you Unique and Beautiful.
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno

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    Once upon a Cortez Pearl... Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert CortezPearls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisa c View Post
    Wendy, lol!
    Whispers the missus come see my bissus,
    she hopes the Earl won’t see her pearl...
    LOL!
    That is a Venerid poem of sorts!
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno
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    Your Life evolves in the same way a Pearl grows: with continuous layers of experiences/nacre that add to the Story of your Life on Earth and make you Unique and Beautiful.
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno

  13. #13
    Once upon a Cortez Pearl... Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert CortezPearls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pearlescence View Post
    There isn't much understanding CMN because a lot of the time we simply don't know. It's the same with pearl colour. Why do pearls have colour at all? It's dark where they live usually, they don't need to look fancy to pull a hot mate.
    Yes indeed...why would a color-blind creature produce such beautiful colors? It is not enjoying it!
    But the crystals do that by themselves, just like a splendid gemstone (ruby, emerald, opal, etc.) is kept hidden inside the ground for ages until discovered by a miner and finally brought to full beauty by a gem-cutter. Why is the gem beautiful??? The earth around it does not recognize it!
    In all, we can say all this beauty was made so we Humans could one day ENJOY it. In this we should be THANKFUL to whatever Power made it possible for us to be able to experience the beauty of this world and all in it.
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno
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    Your Life evolves in the same way a Pearl grows: with continuous layers of experiences/nacre that add to the Story of your Life on Earth and make you Unique and Beautiful.
    Douglas McLaurin-Moreno

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    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Yes, but gemstones do not breed and reproduce. Colour is a result of chemistry.
    Author:Pearls A Practical Guide published by Crowood Jan 2021
    www.pearlsapractical.guide

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    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    Pearl in latin is margarita. From which we get Margaritifera margaritifera I am a margaritifera - a seller of pearls.
    Unionidae are the general family of bi-valve freshwater mussels
    Author:Pearls A Practical Guide published by Crowood Jan 2021
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