Cortez Pearls Gemstone & Information | Gemopedia by JTV | Gemopedia™

Cortez Pearls

Emerging once more from the clear waters of the Gulf of California, after decades of protection, is Mexico's most emblematic gem: 'New World Black Pearls'. In 1533, the Spanish Conqueror Hernan Cortez sent the very first expeditions into the area to find the mythical "Sea of Pearls." Soon, the area known as the "Vermillion Sea of Cortez" - that we officially know as the Gulf of California - produced one of the finest known pearls in the world, the Cortez Pearl. These prized gems became New Spain's most important export product, with a price so high that their value was more than double of that of all other combined exports to the Old Continent: gold, silver and spices. It was at this moment in time when Mexican black pearls came to be known as the 'Queen of Gems' and the 'Gem of Queens', adorning European nobility like never before. Back from a 400 year reign and near extinction, are a new generation of Cortez Pearls being cultivated from the same highly-priced oysters of Mexico.

Colors

Purple, Rose, Silvery Blue, Pink, White, Gold

  • Cortez-pearls classification

    CommonName
    Cortez Pearls
    Species
    NA
    Variety
    Colors
    Purple, Rose, Silvery Blue, Pink, White, Gold
    AlternateNames
    Rainbow Pearls
    GemstoneGroups
    KeySeparations
    Appearance, RI, birefringence blink and magnification. A "tooth test" is commonly used in which a pearl is rubbed against a tooth; if gritty, this is an indication that the surface is nacre, versus plastic and glass imitations that feel smooth.
    ClassificationComments
    Cortez pearls are produced by the Rainbow lipped pearl oyster Pteria sterna.
  • Cortez-pearls chemistry & crystallography

    ChemicalName
    calcium carbonate + conchiolin and water
    ChemicalFormula
    CaCO3
    Synthesis
    CrystalSystem
    NA
    ChemistryClassification
    Organic
    Nature
    Cultured
    Crystallinity
    ChemistryComments
  • Cortez-pearls optical properties

    Transparency
    Translucent - Opaque
    Dispersion
    OpticalComments
    RefractiveIndex
    1.53-1.685
    Birefringence
    0.155
    OpticCharacter
    OpticSign
    PolariscopeReaction
    Aggregate (AGG)
    Fluorescence
    SWUV:
    LWUV: Black pearls will fluoresce hot pink to magenta
    CCFReaction
    Pleochroism
    None
  • Cortez-pearls characteristic physical properties

    Hardness
    2.5-4
    CharacteristicComments
    Streak
    SpecificGravity
    2.72-2.78
    Toughness
    Good
    Inclusions
    Luster
    Dull
    Stability
    Poor
    Fracture
    Uneven
    Cleavage
    None