June 07, 2022

Understanding colour in cultured pearls is fascinating.

By Francisco Javier Fernandez Sanchez
The South Sea Pearl Blog  The South Sea Pearl
Understanding colour in cultured pearls is fascinating. The causes are varied, namely organic pigments and the chemistry related to the water reservoir where the pearl shell is grown (for example, sea water and freshwater have different manganese concentrations with impact on the color of the nacre). The pearl mollusc species is, of course, one of the most important factors in this process, specially the donor specimen that provides the mantle tissue graft (known as saibo) that is inserted in the gonads or mantle (depending on the culturing method) of a productive pearl mollusc for the formation of the cultured pearl sac. Experiments in xenotransplantation (meaning graft from one species in host mollusc of another species) have demonstrated that colour is controlled mostly by the genetic characteristics of the graft in cultured pearls. Still there with me after some pearl jargon?

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