Natural Conch Pearls Dark Pink with Flame worth Most

Because they’re so rare, natural conch pearls can be worth up to $3,000 per carat for the highest-quality specimens: dark pink ones with the sought-after “flames” glowing in the gem. Usually, the pearls in various shades of creamy white, pink and coral, are worth about $1,500 per carat.


Davis doesn’t know how much cultured conch pearls will be worth, simply because there aren’t any on the market yet, but cultured oyster pearls have about 30 to 50 percent of the value of natural pearls.

If that’s the case, the highest-quality cultured conch pearls from Harbor Branch could be worth up to $1,500 or so per carat, with most worth from $450 to $750 per carat.

Davis has been working with conchs almost 30 years ago, first to raise them as food in the Turks and Caicos Islands. She started thinking about cultivating conch pearls a few years later.

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Natural conch pearl with extreme flame
Natural Conch Pearls for Sale

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Cultured Conch Pearls

FORT PIERCE — Two treasure Coast scientists have solved a mystery that for decades has been wrapped up in the coils of a conch shell.

With less than two years of research and experimentation, Megan Davis and Héctor Acosta-Salmón, both scientists at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, have developed a technique to culture, or grow, pearls inside queen conchs.

In nature, only one in 10,000 conchs produces a pearl, and only one in 100 of those is gem quality. Davis and Acosta-Salmón have an 80 percent success rate culturing pearls in conchs and so far have produced more than 200 using techniques they developed.

Officials at FAU say the accomplishment is comparable to the development of cultured oyster pearls by the Japanese in the 1920s.

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How Will Cultured Conch Pearls Effect Natural Conch Pearl Prices?

But Tom Moses, senior vice president at the Gemological Institute of America, said a large supply of cultured conch pearls could turn buyers' attention to what has been a tiny market.

"I doubt it will have a negative effect on the natural pearl market," Moses said. "If anything, it will probably draw more attention to the natural conch pearl market, and maybe create even more of a demand."

If conch pearl prices mimic the oyster pearl market, where cultured pearls fetch a third to half the price of natural pearls, cultured conch pearls would sell for $500 to $1,000 a carat. Davis said she'll be careful to label her gems as cultured.

"All the pearl dealers want to make sure we're not mixing the cultured pearls with the natural pearls," she said.

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Natural conch pearl with extreme flame
Natural Conch Pearls for Sale


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