Shell Pearl

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June Birthstone

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 Classification
Common Name Shell Pearl
Species Pearl
Shell Pearl Optical Properties
Transparency Translucent - Opaque
Refractive Index 1.480-1.685
Polariscope Reaction Aggregate (AGG)
Fluorescence SWUV: Variable
LWUV: Variable
Pleochroism None
Shell Pearl Characteristic Physical Properties
Specific Gravity 2.700-2.890
Toughness Fair
Inclusions Shell cameos will show concave backs due to structure of the shell. Shells might show orient and will have a parallel growth structure.Helmut shell cameos will have a straight irregular fibrous structure and concave back.Operculum is the eye-like marking on the front and spiral growth on the back of a shell.Conch shells will have a flame-like structure.
Luster Greasy, Pearly
Fracture Uneven, Splintery
Cleavage None
Shell Pearl Chemistry & Crystallography
Crystal System NA
Chemistry Classification Organic

Shell Pearl Colors

  • White Shell Pearl White

Alternate Names

Imitation Pearl, Pearl Simulant

Countries of Origin

China; Indonesia

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Showcasing 200 gemstones in over 1,000 pages and accompanied by more than 2,000 photos, The Sisk Gemology Reference is a must-have in every collector’s library. Each comprehensive, three-volume set features state-of-the-art photography, detailed illustrations, and scientifically precise descriptions to create an entrancing experience for gemstone amateurs and afficionados alike.

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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.