Liddicoat, Richard T., Jr. Gemological Institute of America, Los Angeles, California.
Last reviewed:August 2019
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- Areas of production
- Cultured pearls
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Any mollusk-formed calcareous concretion that displays an orient and is lustrous. There are two major groups of bivalved mollusks in which gem pearls (see illustration) may form: the saltwater pearl oyster, of which there are several species [predominantly Pinctada imbricata (alternatively called P. fucata or P. martensii)]; and a number of genera of freshwater clams. Usually, jewelers refer to saltwater pearls as Asian or Oriental pearls, regardless of their place of discovery; those from freshwater bivalves are referred to as freshwater pearls. See also: Bivalvia; Gem; Mollusca
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