Cultivation of Keshi Pearls

Keshi pearls are the natural by-product of the cultured pearl. Normally in pearl cultivation, a pearl technician carefully cuts a slit into the mollusc’s body and implants a bead nucleus into the creature. The mollusc is then placed back into water and left to create the pearl. As the mollusc coats the nucleus with layer upon layer of nacre, the pearl slowly forms. However when a Keshi is produced it is because the pearl grows without the nucleus and the result is a non-standard pearl that’s considered a by-product of the cultivation process.

Keshi pearls can grow in any cultured pearl producing oyster or mollusc and although rare, the most commonly found are in Japanese Akoya pearl production as well as in the worldwide in Tahitian, Indonesian, Australian, Burmese and Philippine cultured pearl productions. Keshi pearls are becoming increasingly rare, as in modern times Pearl farmers will now x-ray the oysters to find any abnormality in the pearl’s growth. If they find that the nucleus has been rejected, the oyster is often re-seeded with a new nucleus to product a regular cultured pearls

What is ‘Keshi’? And How Does That Relate to Pearls?

Keshi is a Japanese word meaning poppy seed or small thing. Keshi pearls in Japan are generally between the sizes of 1-3 millimetres and roundish or oval in shape. Within the larger south sea pearl production from Pinctada Maxima and Pinctada Margeritafera oysters the keshi pearls measure anywhere from 3 to 20 millimetres occasionally bigger but usually 5-10 millimetres on average and come in round, button, oval, tear drop, semi baroque and baroque shapes.

Keshi pearls are all pearl and so usually have excellent lustre and shine. Very often they have beautiful silky clear skin and make excellent necklaces, earrings, rings and pendants.

Keshi pearls come in the same colours as their host oysters produce hence we can see the beautiful deep golden keshi from The Philippines, the white and silver colours from Australia, the cream champagne rose colours from Burma, and the pure white colours in Japan.

Keshi Pearls Are Rare! When Can You Buy Them?

Keshi pearls have been very popular with Jewellers worldwide for as many years as they have been commercially available. There is something so unique about Keshi Pearls, their free form shapes in the baroques, their perfection in drops and rounds and button shapes. Their incredible lustre and often exceptional color and tones of colour within basic white and basic black when it comes to Australian and Tahitian keshi. Keshis are perfect set as brooches, in rings, as earrings and as single pendants. Very occasionally one can see a necklace made entirely of keshi pearls and these are spectacular for their matching and colours and lustre.

Tiffany and Co have long been a major user of keshi pearls in their designs and over the years have made a lot of flower themed jewellery with Keshi pearls. The Paspaley family hold several boxes of keshi that have been kept strictly within and for the Paspaley family and these love in a vault in Darwin and are amongst the families prized possessions.

Always popular and in strong demand, Keshi Pearls are considered the amongst the rarest of pearls and remain in strong demand from consumers and the world’s leading jewellers.


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