What is a Keshi pearl?

These pearls are produced by oysters know as pearl oyster such as the « Pinctada Margaritifera ». Through an extraordinary Phenomenon the oysters manage to produce pearls of different colors and sizes from just a little rock pebble or a sand grain which is the nucleus! The pearls are formed around it the same way as Keshi pearls. But what are Keshi pearls?

Keshi pearls also called “Keishi” are formed without a nucleus meaning no foreign object went into the formation of the pearl. The term « Keshi » is of Japanese origin meaning «clove » This variety of pearl can be produced in nature or with human intervention. In the wild, these pearls are formed by accident by the oyster’s rejection of the nucleus after its insertion. Keshi pearls are made organically and have irregular shapes giving them the status of baroques pearls.

Keshi Pearl

How are Keshi pearls formed?

The formation of a pearl requires the presence of these two elements, the nucleus and the graft. Pearls can be formed naturally in freshwater as well as at sea. The nucleus is shaped like a small ball molded of nacre. The graft is a set of cells that are part of the oyster’s coating which produces the nacre.

However in the case of the molding of Keshi pearls the oyster will only keep the graft which will produces many layers of nacre. This fascinating process which produces the Keshi is called Pearl accretion.

What are the different types of Keshi?

Keshi pearls are very rare to find. They can be found in different colors, weights, shapes, quality and forms. These differences make these gems of nature highly appreciated for their variety and beauty.

What are the differences between a normal pearl and a Keshi?

Keshi pearls which are much rarer than normal pearls are also a lot smaller due to their lacking of a nucleus. Long considered as unique gems, keshi pearls cannot be classified in the same way as normal pearls are due to their irregular shapes. The absence of a nucleus as a support on which nacre is layered makes way to these irregular shapes to be formed.

Even though their value is the same as normal pearls, keshis are considered as good luck charms(called tears of the sky or Tears of the gods).Nowadays the jewellery industry are using Keshi pearls in the creation of their major jewellery pieces (necklaces, bracelets, earrings…) as they are appreciated for their high luster and superiority over most of normal pearls.

Keshi Pearl

The production process of Keshi pearls

Known for their uniqueness and their exceptional beauty, keshi pearls can be produced in controlled environment with human intervention like any normal pearl and finding one in nature is extremely rare. With the development of techniques in the production of cultivated pearls, it is now easy to graft the nucleus into oysters and to create ideal conditions for the formation of keshi pearls.

Pearl farming consists of maintaining and insuring favorable conditions for the production of pearls in order to quality pearls as well as keeping up with market demand. There are several pearl farmers which produce keshi. Their livelihood requires years of experience and knowhow because oysters are extremely fragile to handle. In fact, 10% of oysters die right after grating the nucleus, 10 % in the 3 years that follow and a third only rejects the nucleus which will form a keshi pearl.

Breeding pearl oysters is not limited to one location and can be done wherever in the world. You can get pearls from salt water bred pearl oyster in Tahiti as well as fresh water bred pearl oyster in French Polynesia, Japan, China or even Australia.

The process of obtaining cultivated pearl is long and generally requires between 18 month and 5 years. The time-lapse for producing Keshi depends on various factors such as the location of the farm, the nature of the water (fresh water, salt water lake…) as well as the techniques used during production.

How to differentiate between a Keshi and a normal pearl?

Keshi and normal pearls have generally very close structures and appearances. That is why it is important to know where your purchase is coming from and to get a certificate of authenticity.

You can differentiate between the two by simply applying x-ray to the pearl in order to examine its structure. The X-rays will show the buyer any traces of a nucleus.

Can I find inexpensive quality Keshi pearls?

If you are on a budget and can’t buy pearls, well you are lucky. These unique pearls are more reasonably priced and are available in a variety of shapes and colors. You can surely find one at your taste easily to spice up you style.


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