Abalone Pearl Looks like a Whale

by Jim
(Santa Barbara CA)

75x15mm 13 grams Abalone Pearl

75x15mm 13 grams Abalone Pearl

I found this pearl in the sand adjacent to an abalone bed.


I have found abalone pearls before by feeling the gonad and stomach sacs after shucking. But this beats that anyday!

It weighs 13 grams and is 75mm long.

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Nov 28, 2009
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What a friend!
by: Kari

Ahhh, Michael....now you're the kind of friend to have! Wow, so neat that you shared what could have been your own treasure with someone else. It's knowing these kind of stories that makes these pearls even more special than they already are. One of my favorite truths is: "Give and it shall be given unto you." I'm sure you'll find this true in this case too. If Lynn ever makes a piece of jewelry out of the "Whale Pearl" I'd love to see a photo. Thanks for sharing!

Nov 28, 2009
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The Gift
by: Michael

I just happened to be diving with Jim the day the Pearl was found. We were both in the water at San Miguel Island swimming in in opposite directions along an abalone population transect line. Jim played out the tape and then I followed as he returned counting abs. I saw just the tip of the pearl, swished the sand away and realized the treasure. Since I was wearing a dry suit and had no place to stash it and knowing Jim had recently fallen in love with Lynn and that she was a jeweler I figured it would be copesthetic for him to spot it on the way back. He did and Jim and Lynn rode into the sunset..a happy ending, except Anja thinks I am an idiot.

Nov 23, 2008
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Thanks
by: Kari

Jim, thanks for explaining your expertise in distinquishing polished abalone shells from abalone pearls.....very interesting and it makes perfect sense. I also think you are right about needing to see actual specimens in order to fully comprehend the difference.

It was an excellent question to be asked and you have answered and explained the answer very nicely. Thanks.

Nov 23, 2008
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Pearl or shell?
by: Jim

I first dove for abalone in the 50's at Corona del Mar. And went on to make my living as a commercial abalone diver in Santa Barbara. I have handled abalone and their shells all my life and have found several pearls and seen many more. There is a basic difference between shell and pearl form: a structure which is easy to see when you handle them. A piece or portion of shell that is polished (in nature or by hand) will reveal itself as being part of a shell with its layers exposed at its edges. A pearl stands allone and you can see the way the nacre has been deposited around it's variable shape.

I hope this explains it though you really must examine specimens to see the difference.

Jim

Nov 20, 2008
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shell? or pearl?
by: Anonymous

how can you tell if it's a pearl or from a shell?

Oct 19, 2008
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Love your abalone pearl
by: Kari

Hi Jim,

I just love your abalone pearl that looks like a whale....it's almost as big as one too. Well, maybe not, but it is a whopper! A designer's dream come true. I'd love to see what a jewelry maker would do with it. The vivid variations of colors makes it a gorgeous find.

Thank you for sharing and we'll love to see and hear what becomes of your whale abalone pearl.

I also think it's very interesting that you found it in the sand and didn't even have to dive for it. Wow...what a great day that was.

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