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  1. #1
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    Question Discovery of natural pearls is rare or not?

    Discovery of natural pearls is rare or not?

    At 07/17/2011 I posted a thread ?Pinctada shell found with 85 natural pearls in it?, the news of my discovery were published on "Argonauta", online magazine by ?International Malacology Association? see link:

    http://www.amimalakos.com/argonauta/2011-7-12/pg026.htm

    and on some other internet sites in English and Italian language.

    In about one year I don?t know any case like mine, I was in contact with famous pearls experts like Elisabeth Strack, who wrote me that she ?has seen similar examples in the backrooms of Zoological museums?.
    Dr. Michael S. Krzemnicki, Director of Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF, wrote that my discovery ?is funny, but not at all a very rare finding?.

    I sent them many e-mail where I asked to tell me where I can find news of similar discovery and the names of Zoological museums that have in the backrooms Pinctada shells with many pearls but they never answered.

    If finding 85 pearls in the same Pinctada is not at all very rare, I think that finding a pearl in a wild Pinctada should be almost common.

    Now many web pages in all languages of the world write news like this:
    ?Natural pearls are extremely rare. In nature, only about one in 10,000 oysters will produce a pearl. Of those, only a small percentage will achieve the size, shape, and color of a desirable gemstone. The odds of finding a perfect natural pearl are around one in a million?, see for example the link:

    http://www.pearlhours.com/index.php?...ed-pearls.html

    It is not right if it is not true.

    Gianpiero Piva

    gppiva@libero.it

  2. #2
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    HI Gianpiero
    I won't go to that site, because when I tried, I got a warning from my browser that it is a dangerous site. I use WoT a firefox ap that tracks reliability of websites.

    Natural pearls are rare, and most are like yours, not of much value. If you drilled them, they would maybe make a bracelet. A bracelet of tiny ill-formed pearls, natural though they may be, is only worth slightly more than the cost of getting them certified.

    Your find is unusual and rare, but it is of no great significance to the gem trade because people want to wear their pearls- not keep them in a display. That is for museums to do with curiosities and oddities, which your find is. I have been impressed with your perseverance, however, and wish you the best in getting the recognition, or price, you want. I do think looking to the gem trade is not going to help your cause.

    Your pearls are worth what someone will pay for them.

    I know of another case where someone got hold of what he thought was a rare and valuable pearl, even though it was the ugliest pearl anyone ever saw. It was huge, however- at least 14 pounds and it looked like a brain. He took the pearl to the Museum of Natural History and got a letter from the invertebrate man stating it was, indeed, a pearl from the tridacna gigas clam. He put it in Ripley's Believe it or not as the largest pearl in the world, which it might be. He assigned a price of $3 million to it and spent the rest of his life promoting the pearl. His tactics got more and more dishonest. He invented a Chinese visitor to the pearl who claimed it was cultured by Lao Tsu and had been the cause of many wars, so it was hidden in a clam and transported away from China when the ship sank and the clam with pearl were lost. Then 50 years later supposedly a young diver lost his life finding the pearl.

    Once this lie went out, the pearl became a con. The guy elaborated on the story over time, but never found a buyer, then died. At that point, a jeweler got it from his family for a promise and a wink. I believe a couple thousand dollars changed hands with promises of millions more when the pearl was sold. The pearl never sold, though the new owner hyped it even more than the first one. He invented another visit from China with more details. But alas, no one ever wanted to pay more than the grand or two he paid. He had it reappraised based on inflation from the 3million price, so by time he he too, died, he had hyped the value up to $67,000,000. By this time, a murder had been committed by one of the shareholders of the pearl, then eventually a trial and conviction, and then, the children of the murdered woman filed claim against the pearls and won half of the 67,000,000 in a court in CO in 2007 or so. Still, the pearl remains unsold. Half of zero is still zero.

    The moral of the story is? Don't think your pearl is such a great find, unless it is round and perfectly unblemished and glows from within. If it is, then read, "The Pearl" by John Steinbeck.

    If not, be careful not to go over the edge hyping this find, (which you have certainly not done;you have been perfectly honest, so this was but a cautionary tale). The world seems to be delivering a collective, "Meh", perhaps because rare and unusual does not necessarily mean it is worth much money.
    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.

  3. #3
    Inactive Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Natural pearl hunting should never, ever be a quest for treasure by any description. They come from living organisms who's niche in life was granted by natural selection at very long odds.

    Palpating a natural pearl is a thrill beyond description, even after thousands of times, but ripping them out with expectations of grandeur is missing the point.

    Mankind learned a very long time ago that exploitation of wild stocks for the purposes of vanity leads to a dark and destructive place.

    In the modern world, natural pearl gathering should only be likened to archaeology, palaentology or biology. Afterall, digging up the graves of our elders for a string of trinket beads of little value is an illegal, unethical and a sacreligeous practice. In almost every instance, once an artifact is no longer "in situ", most of it's real value and history are lost forevermore.

    Personally, I never undertake surveys without adequate permission, observation and documentation. At the end of the day, data, education and the furtherence of technology are the goals sought. Not gems or kudos.

    While Gianpero's find is unusual, it's not rare. Finding hundreds of pearls in a single specimen is not a freak of nature insomuch as a single case of vulnerability. The marine environment is fraught with perils and in all honesty, nothing suprises me insomuch as I am impressed by it's effects. To me, the how, where and why is far greater than the what.
    Last edited by Lagoon Island Pearls; 05-21-2012 at 08:19 PM.

  4. #4
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    Caitlin and Dave,

    You know all my story also if you don’t go to the wbsite www.amimalakos.com (45 different countries have visited this site, I think, without problems).

    In my articles, threads and posts I every wrote that my pearls are without commercial value (to obtain jewels), and I never spoke of possibility to obtain money from my discovery.

    I have given the name Lavinia (my daughter) to my Pinctada shell and the name Agata (our female cat) to my baroque gray small pearl.

    Dr. Michael S. Krzemnicki wrote me that my discovery is not at all a very rare finding, Dave write that it is unusual, it's not rare, Caitlin write that my find is unusual and rare, but without significance to the gem trade (as I wrote) but I don’t know any case like mine.

    It can be only a interesting news, perhaps of some scientific interest.

    On the web I read at link: http://www.giathai.net/news.php?month=08&year=2011
    that Ken Scarratt made a trip to find wild Pinctada, ad made microradiography images and computed micro-tomography of small pearls and shells, to know how wild Pinctada produce natural pearls.

    I have shell and pearls that can be analyzed, without ask money

    I am looking for only some answers, but I only found some strange behaviors, perhaps it is only my English that it is bad.

    Don’t worry, this is the second and the last thread that I post in this forum.

    Gianpiero Piva

  5. #5
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    I like your story. I like your site. I like your perseverance. Post all you want. I like the record you have kept here about your find and you should keep adding to it. I know you are not in it for the money, now, but I was thinking you were pushing it. I was wrong and I apologize for offending you.

    I just have a thing about the pearl story I told in the earlier post. It gave me a chance to tell it again in the context of not just hyping a low value find, but going con artist in doing do. I think it is more incredible than fiction. Of course you are not in it for the money, but it did remind me of this story, which seems almost epic in its loss of contact with reality over a pearl.

    As for the rarity of natural pearls, their formation depends on an injury of some sort, an injury bad enough to carry epithelial cells into the mantle. Oysters are tough little critters, so not many suffer the cuts or traumas that induce pearl sacks to form, hence their rarity. I have heard more than once, that people look for deformed or damaged oysters to increase the likelihood of finding pearls. In the old days I think pearls were a side effect of eating the oysters. Thus, it seems likely that in some places, there was less pearl formation than others, depending on the oysters' health. I doubt anyone has really done the statistics to claim it is one in 10,000. Where specifically, would that apply? Universally, or in certain localities?

    Maybe no one has understood your question?

    When the grab for pearls started in various places in the world, the oysters without pearls were discarded, which was very problematic to the oysters because there was no built in limit to the appetite for pearls as there was for the meat. No point in killing until you want to eat, but take that away, and you are left with devastation of the pearl beds as happened all over the Americas.

    Just think, if all the pearl beds in the world had been harvested sustainably, from their discovery by the Spaniards, we would still have a natural pearl market in newly found pearls from all over the world, not just around Borneo.
    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.

  6. #6
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    Gianpiero,

    I'm acutely aware of your frustration. Please believe me when I tell you, even dabbling in natural pearls will meet with skepticism and scrutiny at almost every angle. In a world chocked full with blood diamonds, poached ivory and epidemic pearl fraud, one needs to rise above it. That said, I can respect that monetary value or gems are not your motivation and appreciate your contribution to science, as well as a willingness to learn more.

    Branding, naming or recognition of "world records" are "value-add" terms, often applied after the fact when other values have been lost. Even though your pearls were harvested long ago, you had the foresight to take a few photos.

    Here's my best answer to your question. Yes and no. It depends on Order. For the sake of the discussion, I'll stick to bivalves only. Remember, I'm no scientist, but these are my observations as I know them.

    Venus clams:

    Phylum: Mollusca
    Class: Bivalvia
    Order: Veneroida
    Family: Veneridae

    Giant Clams:

    Phylum: Mollusca
    Class: Bivalvia
    Order: Euheterodonta
    Subfamily: Tridacninae


    The incidence of natural pearls in these are exceedingly rare. Most live within a substrate (epibenthic) and as such have great resistance to the many factors causing pearl formation. I have cultivated, harvested, marketed hundreds of tons of Manilla Clams (Venerupus philipinarium) as well as eaten immeasurable quantities, yet have not found or seen a single pearl. Quahog (Mercinaria mercinari) pearls for example are not unusual, but rare. Venus clams have a high tolerance for periods of low salinity and I have no doubts this is a factor.

    Edible Oysters:

    Phylum: Mollusca
    Class: Bivalvia
    Order: Ostreoida
    Family: Ostreidae

    Scallops:

    Phylum: Mollusca
    Class: Bivalvia
    Order: Ostreoida
    Suborder: Pectinina

    These are epifaunal. They live on top of instead of buried in sediments. Oysters are intertidal, scallops are a little bit of eveything from pelagic to abyssal. Pearls from these are neither unusual, nor rare but not common either. Chances are, if you eat enough oysters and scallops you'll likely encounter a pearl or two, but unless you're a fisherman or processor, it's unlikely you'll amass a collection.

    Mussels:

    Phylum Mollusca
    Class Bivalvia
    Subclass Pteriomorpha
    Order Mytiloida

    Mussels are also epifaunal and intertidal. Unlike their bivalve relatives, Mytiloida do not have gonads as a single organ, instead they have a series of gonoducts and glands that share the same space as the mantle skirt. They have a high incidence of pearls, hence common. This is why freshwater pearls are grown in mussels, for their simplicity and abundance.

    And finally to the point... Pinctada

    Phylum Mollusca
    Class: Bivalvia
    Order: Pterioida
    Family: Pteriidae

    As you can see by the taxonomy, pearl oysters fall somewhere between scallops and mussels. In other words, they produce more natural pearls than scallops, but less than mussels.

    In the case of your find, because it's multiple pearls from a single specimen... it's unusual, but not rare.
    Last edited by Lagoon Island Pearls; 05-23-2012 at 03:04 AM. Reason: spelling and grammar

  7. #7
    Perpetual Pearl Student Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lisa c's Avatar
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    Please don't be offended, but also remember that while you were counting and collecting the pearls, a fair amount of the collecting was done out of site of the camera, which undermines your claim. That could partly explain the lack of enthusiasm you're meeting.

    As Caitlin pointed out, there are tons of scammers in the world and that leads to healthy cynicism. Every one of the points in the thread is valid, if disappointing.

    Also, Douglas Of Sea of Cortes pearls posted on your thread of a similar find at his farm, with more pearls in the shell.

    Somewhere, a poster offered his services in India to drill tiny pearls. Perhaps you'd like to have your pearls drilled to make an heirloom piece? I'm so sorry you're still frustrated, and I hope you get some enjoyment from your find.

  8. #8
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    Dear All,
    Thanks you for your kind answers, I have really very difficult to converse in English and misunderstandings are possible.

    Caitlin,
    also I doubt that anyone has really done the statistics, but it is strange that no one recorded finding of many pearls in the same shell, also in the “Pearl Rodeo” I don’t find numbers and data.

    Dave,
    your answer is very clear and instructive, I think that in Family: Pteriidae there are genus Pinctada and genus Pteria, in my thread there was the found by Douglas of more than 120 pearls in a Pteria Sterna, Douglas sent Pteria and pearls for analysis to Granada, Spain to Dr. Antonio Checa Gonzales where they will be analyzed to help understand the process of natural pearl formation.
    Perhaps should be in interest make analysis also of my Pinctada.
    Speak of find multiple pearls from a single specimen, is too generic, four or five is different of seventy or eighty

    Lisa,
    I am not offended, I put my three video about Red Sea (not only about pearls) on YouTube and I have authorized the use only by website which published my articles, if someone is posting my video on its website is not my responsibility.
    I do not care to make a bracelet with small pearls, drilling the pearls I seems to ruin them but I'm very happy for my discovery.

    As soon as.
    Gianpiero Piva

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