Shell Pearl

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Shells were one of the first items used for ornamentation, and for good reason. Unique, one-of-a-kind shells have their own allure and appealing, natural beauty. Formed as the hard outer covering of many mollusks, shell is grown in layers by cells in the mantle, a skin-like tissue in the mollusk's body wall. As there are many varieties of mollusk, shells come in an endless array of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Shell Pearl Polished
Shell Pearl Classification
Common Name Shell Pearl
Species Shell
Shell Pearl Optical Properties
Transparency Translucent - Opaque
Dispersion Strength: None
Refractive Index 1.530-1.685
Polariscope Reaction Aggregate (AGG)
Fluorescence SWUV: Variable
LWUV: Variable
CCF Reaction None
Pleochroism None
Shell Pearl Characteristic Physical Properties
Streak White
Specific Gravity 2.700-2.890
Toughness Fair
Inclusions Shells might show orient and will have a parallel growth structure. Shell pearls will often have a flame-like structure.
Luster Greasy, Pearly
Fracture Uneven, Splintery
Cleavage None
Shell Pearl Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name Calcium carbonate+conchiolin+water
Chemical Formula CaCO3+conchiolin+H2O
Crystal System NA
Chemistry Classification Organic

Shell Pearl Colors

  • White Shell Pearl White
  • Yellow Shell Pearl Yellow
  • Red Shell Pearl Red
  • Purple Shell Pearl Purple
  • Pink Shell Pearl Pink
  • Orange Shell Pearl Orange
  • Multi-color Shell Pearl Multi-color
  • Green Shell Pearl Green
  • Gray Shell Pearl Gray
  • Brown Shell Pearl Brown
  • Black Shell Pearl Black
  • Bi-color Shell Pearl Bi-color
  • Blue Shell Pearl Blue

Alternate Names

Imitation Pearl, Pearl Simulant, "South Ocean pearl", South Pacific pearl", "Oustah de Luxe" pearl, "Composite pearls", "Micomo pearls", "Masami"

Countries of Origin

China; Indonesia


Mother of Pearl nucleus are often used to simulate pearls. The Tridanca gigas has a white shell and are frequently used in the manufacture of "Shell pearls".


Soluble in hydrochloric acid

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Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.