Pearls - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780408013826, 9781483162737


1st Edition

Natural, Cultured and Imitation

Authors: Alexander E. Farn
Editors: Peter G Read
eBook ISBN: 9781483162737
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 18th March 1986
Page Count: 160
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Pearl: Natural, Cultured and Imitation discusses some aspects, distinction, and authenticity of pearl. This book is divided into 10 chapters that cover the origin, anatomy, sources, and prices of this precious gem. The first five chapters are devoted to natural pearls, their unique features, origin, history, structure, anatomy, and source. The next two chapters cover cultivation and testing of cultured pearls, as well as their market value. A chapter focuses on the properties of various imitation pearls. The concluding chapters deal with the pricing of pearls, primarily based on an elaborate method using a base price referred to as the “unit base price”. These chapters also consider other pearl uses other than necklaces, such as borders to brooches and festoons. This book will be of great value to pearl traders, manufacturers, and users.

Table of Contents



1 Profile

Summary of the Composition, Specific Gravities and Chief Sources of Pearls

2 The Origin of Pearls

Dew-Formed Pearls

Queries and Doubts

The Egg Theory

Structure Similarities

Intrusion Theory

Rare-Sand-Grain Theory

Early Attempts to Grow Pearls

The Accent on Parasites

Calco-Spheritic Structures

Sand-Grains and Parasites

Morphological Change

3 The History of Pearls

4 The Structure and Anatomy of the Pearl Oyster

The Shell Layers

Shell Growth

Shell Formation

The Soft Body

The Foot


The Pallial Cavity

Breathing and Feeding

The Blood System

The Excretory Organs

The Nervous System

The Reproductive System

The Phylum Mollusca

5 Sources of Natural Pearls

The Persian Gulf

The Red Sea

The Gulf of Mannar (India)

The Gulf of Mannar (Sri Lanka)

Pearl-Fishing Notices


Changes Due to Supply, Methods and Labor

Some Aspects of the Australian Pearl Trade

The South Seas

The Philippines and Malaysian Archipelago Areas

The Pearls of the Americas




Virginia and the Mississippi Valley

Freshwater Pearls

The Abernethy Pearl

Oriental and Freshwater Pearls

Fluorescence of Freshwater Pearls

Conservation of Mussel Beds

French Pearls

Russian Pearls

Chinese Pearls

Other Pearl-Producing Molluscs

6 Cultured Pearls

The Impact of Cultured Pearls on the Trade

Chinese Cultured Pearls, 1000 BC

The Method

The Hardy Mussel

Spherical Cultured Pearls

The First Japanese Cultured Pearls

The Early workers in Japan

Kokichi Mikimoto

The First Pearl Farm

The Cultivation of Pearls

Methods of Increasing Pearl Production

Solid Nuclei Intrusions

Cyst or Sac Pearls

The Method of Cultivation

Spat Collection

Critical Temperatures

Nucleus Insertion

Source of Nuclei

Operating Preparations

Sacrificed Oysters

Speed of Operation

The Mortality Rate

Growth Times

Thickness of Layers

The Harvest


Size of Nuclei

The Largest Pearl Oysters

Color in Cultured Pearls

Other Cultured-Pearl-Producing Areas


The Philippines

Problems of Labor and Shell Supply

Closure of Cultured-Pearl Farms

Reports on Cultured-Pearl Farming in Australia

Future Prospects

Non-nucleated Cultured Pearls

Mabe Cultured Pearls, Cultured Blister Pearls and Keshi

Mabe Cultured Pearls

Cultured Blister Pearls


Color in Pearls and Cultured Pearls

Cultured-Pearl Production

Production Figures

7 Testing Pearls and Cultured Pearls

Simple Test Methods

The Stamp Test

The Bounce Test

The Tooth Test

Cultured Half-Blister Pearls

Spherical Cultured Pearls

The Challenge of the Cultured Pearl

Chemical Tests

Tests by Magnets

The Lucidoscope


Testing by Endoscope

The Method


Production Figures

Specific Gravity (SG) Tests

The Chemical Composition of Pearls

8 Imitation Pearls

Venetian Glass

'Roman Pearls'

Roman Imitation Pearls

Imitation Cultured Pearls

Imitation Pink Pearls

Imitation Black Pearls

Costume Pearls

De Meisner Pearls

A Recent Imitation Pearl

9 The Method of Pricing Pearls

The Commercial Advantage of 'Sizing' Pearl Necklaces

10 A Pearl Pot-Pourri

Black Pearls

Lacquered Mother-of-Pearl Beads

Pearls in 'Medicine'


'Dying' Pearls

Drilling and Plugging

Pearl Fancies

Cave Pearls

Royal Purple

Pearl Fish and other Intruders

The Pearl Doctor

A Pearler's Tale

Famous Pearls

Cleopatra's Pearl

La Peregrina (the Incomparable)

La Pellegrina

Glossary of Terms

Recommended Reading



Color-Plate Section


No. of pages:
© Butterworth-Heinemann 1986
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Alexander E. Farn

About the Editor

Peter G Read

Ratings and Reviews