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Perfect shining spheres. Lustrous baroque forms. Seductive strands, warm to the touch. Pearls are simply and purely organic.

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Beautiful Luster

Pearl’s special luster sets it apart from other gems.

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Perfect Sphere

Perfectly spherical pearls of excellent quality are extreme rarities.

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Smooth as Silk

Few pearls are completely blemish free.

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Figure 1. Two pen pearls from Bahrain displayed on a pen shell originating from the same waters. Both the shell and the pearls exhibit a similar color pattern. Pearl A measures 4.65 × 4.25 mm and weighs 0.65 ct (left); Pearl B measures 4.86 × 4.34 mm and weighs 0.73 ct (right). Photo by Gaurav Bera.
Two Pen Pearls from Bahrain

GIA’s Mumbai laboratory reports on two non-nacreous pen pearls from Bahrain.

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Lot of 40 drop and oval pearls, with the smallest weighing 0.62 ct and measuring 5.17 × 4.16 mm and the largest weighing 2.95 ct and measuring 9.53 × 6.65 mm. Photo by Gaurav Bera.
Challenges in Identifying Drilled Keshi Pearls

GIA’s Mumbai laboratory studies a lot consisting of 40 pearls to aid in distinguishing natural from non-bead cultured pearls.

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Figure 4. Quahog (<em>Mercenaria mercenaria</em>) pearl suite offered at the GJX show. Photo by Robert Weldon; courtesy of Pacific Coast Pearls.
The Appeal of Non-Nacreous Pearls

Several vendors offered a variety of impressive non-nacreous pearls at the Tucson gem shows.

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Figure 1. Two loose pearls from windowpane oysters submitted to the Bangkok laboratory and a mixed strand containing mostly windowpane and <em>Pteria</em> species pearls submitted to the New York laboratory. Photo by Jian Xin (Jae) Liao.
Pearls from the Placunidae Family (Windowpane Oysters)

A report on windowpane oyster pearls analyzed in GIA’s laboratories.

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Figure 1. A freshwater shell blister weighing 40.91 ct and measuring 22.79 × 20.59 × 13.21 mm. Photo by Gaurav Bera.
Vaterite in Freshwater Natural Shell Blister

A baroque-shaped shell blister is examined at the Mumbai laboratory.

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Figure 1. The orangy yellow pearl weighing 4.14 ct and measuring 9.51 × 8.43 × 7.51 mm. Photo by Gaurav Bera.
“Lily Pad” Structure in an Orangy Yellow Pearl

An orangy yellow pearl featuring a unique acicular feature is examined at the Mumbai laboratory.

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Figure 1. The two groups of reportedly irradiated akoya pearls used in this study. Photos by Sood Oil (Judy) Chia.
Irradiated and Dyed Akoya Pearls

The New York laboratory reports on a submission of pearls with a combination of irradiation and dye treatments.

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A parasite channel with a surface opening and finer branch-like etch channels in a natural saltwater pearl. Photomicrograph by Emiko Yazawa; field of view 4.79 mm.
Parasite Channels in a Saltwater Natural Pearl

A Y-shaped channel with finer branches indicates parasitic activity in a natural saltwater pearl.

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Figure 1. This 8.03 ct brown oval imitation pearl resembled a pen pearl at first glance. Photo by Ravenya Atchalak.
Iridescent Imitation Pearl

A brown oval specimen submitted to the Bangkok laboratory resembles a pen pearl at first glance.

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Figure 1. These two necklaces consisting of large freshwater cultured pearls displayed strong hues with orient. Photos by Sood Oil (Judy) Chia; courtesy of Yvel.
Large Freshwater Cultured Pearls with Atypical Bead Nuclei

GIA’s New York laboratory reports on a submission of two pearl necklaces containing large, intensely colored cultured pearls with unique bead nuclei.

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