Cultured Pteria penguin pearls

kojimapearl

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Feb 13, 2007
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I recently came by a strand of cultured pearls from the Pteria penguin shell. I found them in the far back of a suppliers show case and was immediately drawn to them because they were obviously ocean pearls but the colors were unlike any I had seen before.. Some golden mauve/brown tones mixed with white and soft silvers. This shell is NOT easy to culture pearls in and is normally only used for mabe production. As it was explained to me.. They represent years of trial and error by a single man in Indonesia and this one strand represents thousands of tries. They are not large pearls (9-11mm). They have soft baroque shapes and great surface and luster through out.
I don't imagine we'll see these take the market by storm.. But it was really exciting to me. We had them x-rayed by our local dentist (bless his heart, this is not the first time he's been so kind:)
Honestly I know precious little about these pearls... I just know that I had never seen them before.. and I loved the necklace as a finished piece (spaced with white and yellow gold faceted beads). It has a regal elegance and the colors, although very difficult to capture correctly, are very pretty.
Cheers, Sarah


strand of cultured pearls from the Pteria penguin with shellstrand of cultured pearls from the Pteria penguin shell laid outstrand of cultured pearls from the Pteria penguin shell on bust
 
Sarah, that is a stunningly beautiful achievement, by a dedicated craftsman ... and you've set so perfectly!
 
The colors are so soft and beautiful! I love how elegant it looks!
 
nice find Sarah, talk about rare! Any more details on the farm? Are they still in production? Where in Indonesia?
 
Cool pearls and a terrific x-ray image! Thanks for posting them. :)
 
Pteria penguin is a cousin of my Pteria sterna...no wonder the gray pearls look similar to mine.

And the shapes...you don't know how difficult it is to get round shapes in such a small pearl sac as the one found in the winged oysters! It is quite a feat of this Indonesian man...similar to ours.

He might be using wild-caught oysters...the bigger the oyster is the easier the operation goes. Unfortunately it is not the path to a sustainable pearl culturing program.

I wish I could meet this man or woman...and talk in the same language too...I imagine we would embrace and cry together just by retelling the problems that are faced growing such a special pearl producing genus of oysters.

Sigh!
 
Thank you for more about the story of this rare treasure. I, too, noticed it on your web site recently. Such are beautiful necklace.
 
By the way Sarah! I just tweeted your latest blog post...I had missed it and it is GREAT!
 
Sarah, might these pearls be making a visit to the Ruckus next week?
 
Douglas:
"He might be using wild-caught oysters...the bigger the oyster is the easier the operation goes. Unfortunately it is not the path to a sustainable pearl culturing program.

I wish I could meet this man or woman...and talk in the same language too...I imagine we would embrace and cry together just by retelling the problems that are faced growing such a special pearl producing genus of oysters."

I cannot now shake the image of you two tearing up in embrace, especially that I have no idea about who this person is! You're right, it is most likely a necklace produced with wild caught animals, but even that I am not SURE of! All I know and this was translated and translated through customary grunting and the filters of Fuji's mind .. that the guy is a bit of a "tinkerer".. and he's been working at it for years and years. I imagine he is in the cultured Indonesian pearl business or is possibly a supplier of natural Indonesian pearls with a LOT of time on his hands and the patience of Buddha. This necklace and the few pearls we have to lengthen it , if need be are all there are from this mysterious "tinkerer". Who knows maybe more will surface, but I imagine that if they had more they would have tried to sell them to me at the same time. Pretty sure I was the only one who even asked about them :)
Unfortunately, I'm afraid that the concept of sustainability is lost in most of Indonesia when it comes to pearls and shells. I have been noticing more and more dealers coming out of the woodwork offering both natural pearls as well as some gorgeous and rare seashells, and I always HOPE that they are not decimating the environment to come by them. (this is simply my opinion, as I am not very familiar with Indonesian conservation efforts, or the practicalities involved in implementing them in a country of thousands of islands!).
I will try to learn more about it if I see the supplier again later on this Summer.
Glad you like the blog, I'm trying to keep up with that, you're a tough act to follow with that whole Miracle of the Virgin's Pearl 5 part mini series .. that was amazing :)

Cathy, Yes.. thanks for asking, I will bring it with me... I'm looking forward to showing it to the real pros!
Cheers, Sarah
 
The very little info I have read or heard about Pteria penguin is how thin the shells are and thus it is extremely difficult to culture pearls. The vast majority are Mabe pearls. It reminds me of something a friend from the Philippines once said, "Long before there was major interest in our pearls there were generations of fisherman collecting"wild" pearls.

I often wonder what all those "wild/natural" pearls look like?
 
Every time I wear this necklace I think of, and thank that mysterious "pearl tinkerer" and wonder where, who he is, and if he wonders what became of his work ... and I think how lucky I am to have met Sarah, and taken custody of this treasure :)
 
Not everyone can claim such a unique back story for their pearls…you are lucky indeed LOL :)

Every time I wear this necklace I think of, and thank that mysterious "pearl tinkerer" and wonder where, who he is, and if he wonders what became of his work ... and I think how lucky I am to have met Sarah, and taken custody of this treasure :)
 
I know just how lucky I am, BlackPearlDudeDC :) And Sarah set these pearls so perfectly; they are much prettier in person, and so versatile, they remain my most frequently worn strand of all, especially in summer.
 
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