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Freshwater keishi question



Are freshwater keishi pearls really keishi pearls or just wrinkly strangely shaped cultured pearls? I mean keishi are supposed to be little extra 100% nacre pearls that are a by product of bead nucleated pearls right?
The freshwater keishi ( or is it keshi now) do have the beautiful orient I hear keishis are known for but are they really keishi? Also couldn't some of them be treated with a little extra something to give them that orient and reflection. Or can orient not be faked?


This is the way that I understand it from what I have read.

According to CIBJO, the only true keshi come from marine mollusks. So freshwater keshi are not true keshi. Keshi happen when one of three things occur. When nucleating, sometimes pieces of the shell get broken off and stuck in the mantle. Also, sometimes cells will break from the donor graft and get lodged in another part of the animal's tissue. Lastly, if the nucleus is rejected but the donor graft grows into a pearl sac anyway, you will have a keshi pearl.

The term keshi is used now with freshwater as well. And although the legal definition is only for marine, (IMHO) many in the industry use it for what is also referred to as regenerated pearls. These are created when a pearl is harvested and the shell is returned to the water to grow a second pearl in the existing pearl sac. This is why the shapes are so often odd. Petal pearls are basically no more than a flattened pearl-sac-regenerated pearl.


The orient is real in keshi as well. Orient is a product of light diffraction, and when you have layers of nacre laid in different directions as you have with pearls that have a non-symmetrical shape, you will see orient much more often.


I do not know how the definition of 'keshi' (= pearls resulting as a by-product of bead nucleation, without nuclei themselves) fits freshwater pearl culture that does not use nucleation. Agreed with CIBJO.

Or else all freshwater pearls would be 'keshi'.

Definitely like he freshwater ones that have the crumpled shapes of saltwater keshi, AND the saltwater keshi that have the plump shapes of freshwater tissue-nucleated pearls... I am still crying after a bullet-shaped gray keshi.... STUPID me! :eek:

PS. Quick question - aren't the proper saltwater 'keshi' tissue nucleated, cultured pearls after all !?? :rolleyes: (even if not intended, but we all know how hard is to make a question of intent hold in court!).


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Having read Jeremy S and others concerning the drop in Keshi production due to XRay techniques (for reseeding rejects) and otherwise improved techniques, it seems that Keshi, much as Biwa, may be on its way to becoming a broadly-used generic term. What are the regulations?



Valeria101 said:
PS. Quick question - aren't the proper saltwater 'keshi' tissue nucleated, cultured pearls after all !?? :rolleyes: (even if not intended, but we all know how hard is to make a question of intent hold in court!).

Not necessarily. In fact, this is the argument against using the term "nucleated" all together.

The saltwater keshi are typically the product of a few different occurrences.
1. The bead is expelled and the pearl sac still forms.
2. During the grafting operation small piece of organic matter are introduced into the mollsuk.
3. A piece of the donor mantle tissue breaks off and forms another pearl sac.

In the case of one and three there is no tissue in the center of the pearl so it cannot be considered nucleated. The tissue grows into a pearl sac, a pearl sac does not grow around the tissue.

I would imagine that the second method is more akin to natural pearl production, but as it is still a byproduct of cultured pearl production it is not a naturally occurring pearl. Hence the proper terminology for keshi pearls of all types would be 'cultured keshi pearls'.

Gina Latendresse was quoted in an article a few years ago and stated it was her belief that some farms intentionally produce keshi by sort of 'salting' (not sure the exact word she used) mollusks with small pieces of mantle tissue during the grafting operation. This would explain the rising volume of keshi pearls especially in akoya.

I believe, however, that the rise in akoya keshi production is due to the technology now used to harvest akoya pearls. The meat is now run through a special device which separates all hard, heavier objects. The meat floats and the keshi sink. This means that the keshi that were missed before when pearls were harvested by hand are now collected.