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Keshi Pearls

Even if you are an avid lover of pearl jewelry, the name Keshi Pearl may catch you by surprise as not many people are familiar with it. In the pearl trade, Keshi is the (Japanese) word that refers to pearls that have not been nucleated by the pearl farmer. The term Keshi can refer to any type of either fresh or saltwater pearl that was formed and developed without a nucleus. Today, 99.99% of all Keshi pearls are saltwater Keshi pearls. A nucleus is a small fragment of mother-of-pearl that has been smoothed and polished. Most of the production and export of nucleus for the entire commercial pearl industry comes from Mississippi. The nucleus is inserted into what is called the gonad of the oyster (saltwater) or the mantle of a mussel (freshwater). Following the insertion of the nucleus, is a small piece of mantle tissue from a donor oyster or mussel. The tissue that is inserted is what is responsible for the developing pearls color and overtones. The epithelial cells of the donor tissue is what develops the pearl sac. As the pearl sac develops, it grows around the nucleus and deposits nacre. This nacre is what ultimately results in a pearl.


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