Pipi Pearls from the Pacific

A nice selection of pipi pearl samples, together with a Pinctada maculata shell sample. Photo: SSEF.

first published in Facette 21 (February 2014)

In 2013, SSEF received a lot of beautiful small so-called Pipi- pearls from the Pacific. These natural pearls are generally rather small, up to about 8 mm in diameter. This is not astonishing as they are formed within the rather small shell of the Pinctada maculata, a species which is widespread in coastal waters of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. However, these pearls are interesting for the pearl trade, as they may show very attractive yellow to golden colours and often rather round shapes. The internal structures of these pearls are very similar to those of Pinctada radiata, thus they often contain organic-rich internal zones with radially arranged columnar calcite, overgrown by the nacre of densely packed aragonite platelets. We would like to thank Mr. Isam Samin (Australia) for donating a number of these pearls to the SSEF collection.

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