BLACK PEARLS  have an unlimited array of colours and the value is determined by its overall quality; Colour, Size, Shape, Lustre + Surface. A combination of these factors give a pearl its individual classification and value.

COLOUR:  The colour of the pearl comes directly from the mantle of the shell. This mantle comes in many varieties of colours so the pearl the shell produces is not usually black. The basic black or dark grey colours of the Cook Islands Black Pearls combine with a multitude of hues ranging through Iridescent greens, ocean blues, pink/rose, golden, platinum or rainbow highlighs. All colours have their special qualities and individual taste should be the criteria for judging them.

SIZE:  They come in an average diameter of 10 11mm. Pearls of 13mm or more are rare and represent a small percentage of any harvest.

SHAPE: The shape of a pearl depends on the shell and the whims of nature. In its efforts to rid itself of the irritating nuclues, a shell often turns and moves the object of its dicomfort thereby creating many different shapes which are Round, Semi Round, Drop, Baroque, Circle and Button.

LUSTRE:  Is the brilliance and reflection of light on the surface of the pearl. Warm and alluring, it is a virtue that combines the quantum nature of light and the subjective views of the beholder.

SURFACE:  Fine pearls will have very few surface marks or depressions. But, as with any product of nature it is unusual to find a pearl totally without these markings. Instead they are considered as evidence of natures art and bear testimony to its creation.

KEISHI PEARLS:  Occasionally, the mother of pearl shell will expel a nucleus, leaving the mantle tissue trapped inside the shell. In absence of the nucleus, the mantle will continue to grow and secrete nacre creating a smaller, seedless Pearl known as KEISHI. As with its larger cousin, the Keishi can vary in colour, shape and size. Keishi Pearls are very popular and can attain the value of some cultured pearls.

NATURAL PEARLS:  They are known locally as PIPI (tiny) pearls and range from 2 6mm. These pearls are generally light in colour, with gold commanding the highest price.

MABES:  Otherwise known as half pearls, blisters or chicots. They are cultivated half pearls produced on the internal face of a shell of a pearl oyster. They are irregular in shape and somewhat flat, like flakes.



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