100 Carat Conch Pearl

100 Carat Conch Pearl from Burma

When local fishermen trawling off the southern Burmese coast reeled in their net, they found a gigantic conch trapped inside.The fact that a seabed dwelling conch was caught in a net that was far above the bottom came as no surprise to the fishermen, who are of Chinese ancestry. They believe an old Chinese legend about pearl-makers traveling to the surface to bask in the light of the full moon. It was, after all, taken during the night of the full moon of Waso.

They were surprised by the fact that the conch shell was right turning, and that the animal weighed two hundred and eighty three pounds. The shell was crème white in color with bright yellow markings. The fishermen estimated the age of the conch to be many hundreds of years.

Inside the conch was a round creme colored pearl weighing over one hundred carats. This conch pearl is more than double the weight of the previous record holder, a 45-carat pink queen conch pearl, now part of a jewelry ensemble by Harry Winston.

Non-nacreous conch pearls are exceedingly rare, the average being one for every fifty thousand conches. World conch stocks are depleted due to over fishing, and several countries now control fishing quotas or ban the taking of conch outright. Some marine scientists consider the conch family ’Strombidae’ to be functionally extinct. That’s humanity for you. This Burmese pearl may be the last of the biggest.

Natural conch pearl
Weight = 100.4 carat
Size = 23.37-24.54 mm
Specific gravity = 2.839
The pearl is being sold in Hong Kong.
The sale closes at midnight June 31, 2003.
The current high bid is USD 2.7 million.

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