South Sea Pearls
by Dr. L. E. Cartier, first published in Facette 23 (February 2017) The South Sea pearl oyster Pinctada maxima is known to produce white, cream and golden pearls. Such pearls are cultured mainly in Australia, Burma (Myanmar), Indonesia and the Philippines. Interestingly, 2016 marked the 60th anni...Colour in cultured pearls has many causes, namely organic pigments and the water reservoir where the pearl shell is grown (sea water or freshwater) that has different manganese (Mn) concentrations with impact on nacre's colours. The mollusc species is, of course, one of the most important factors...Mother-of-pearl has been used since pre-historic times for adornment. In the modern ages, it was also artistically used in marquetry, gaming chips, devotional artefacts, as a bead for the cultured pearl industry but also in the button industry, being rather popular before plastics came into actio...