Cultured Conch Pearls from Honduras...


Well-known member
Aug 12, 2004
via GIA:

According to the farm owners, queen conch pearl culture is undergoing intensive development, and the quality?size, flame pattern, and color?improves with each harvest.​


Figure 3. Left: An X-ray of the pearl seen in the figure 9 inset. It shows clear evidence of a nonbead culturing process. Right: An X-ray of a natural conch pearl. Images by Olivier Segura.

I can't imagine the natural pearl guys are going to be happy about this....
Maybe in a few years we'll all be posting pics of our new conch strands!
Good to know this is being monitored. We'll probably know when, if ever, these cultured conch will reach the marketplace, or achieve the deep pink and exquisite flame of the finest quality.

Knowing how expensive natural conch pearls are I think it's safe to assume some of them will end being sold as naturals(if they haven't already). Up until now there's been no need to x-ray conch pearls that I know of?
For some very odd reason I visualized that screaming goat popping his head out of the shell and "screaming". The eyes reminded me of creepy goat eyes at first glance. Truth be told I was watching a National Geographic Wild special and "Ibex" were featured.

I can just see these pearls making their way to through the pearl trade in Asia and sold as Natural.
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Most conch pearls measure less than 3.0 mm in diameter, so finding pearls that are sizable is rare. Conch pearls are measured in carats by weight. Average carat weights are approximately 0.2 to 0.3cts.
I didn't realize they were endangered.

I recently got confirmation that a ring, which I was told was coral, was indeed a conch pearl. Unfortunately, I lost one of the pearls about 30 years ago in Japan and was never able to find a jeweler to repair it. Now that I know what it is, it is too expensive to repair. The pearl is also a bit dry so if anyone knows if there is a way to restore some of the shine to it, I would love to hear.

The missing pearl could be replaced with another natural pearl without much cost.

As to the other, it does look like a conch pearl alright. Most natural pearls are not treated to prevent reversion (changing into calcite), especially when exposed to the elements, harsh chemicals or strikes. Removing it from the setting runs the risk of damaging it further. In some cases, pearls can be peeled. Removing the outer layers often reveal healthy surfaces underneath, but it is not advised in this type because the concentric layers are micro-thin. There is one procedure. A heated mineral oil bath. It's very risky because there's an equal chance of destruction as restoration. I would only suggest that if it were absolutely necessary and in your case it isn't.