Scallop Pearls

Our last example of pearls from other molluscs is the scallop pearl. Like abalone, conch and melo melo pearls, these are not cultured and are unusual finds. Finding a good example of a scallop pearl is incredibly unusual, and only a large, healthy scallop can produce a large, beautiful pearl. These are very unusual, with a good find occurring in one in 10,000 – 50,000 scallops.

There are many different species of scallop, and they are found in all of the world's oceans. Part of the Pectinidae family, they are a highly prized food source, a popular sea food dish and are well recognised from their shells. These fan shaped shells can be brightly coloured, and there are many shell collectors looking for the most beautiful examples. They have also been used in many logos and motifs in art and design, including the famous logo for Shell, the group of energy and petrochemicals companies around the world.

 

Scallop pearls aren't even searched for like the other rare pearls, where every part of an abalone is used for something, finding a pearl is far more likely than if the shell was just thrown back into the sea or disposed of like a scallop shell is (only the best shells end up as bathroom ornaments or in a collection). Pearls of the highest quality are only found in the shell of Mano de Leon or Lion's paw scallop, named as the shell looks somewhat like a paw, with ridges radiating outwards like a fan.

 

Scallop pearls are non-nacreous like conch and melo melo pearls, but they do have a very unique look. Scallop pearls have the appearance of glitter where an oyster pearl would have nacre, with platelets reflecting light in all directions.

 

They can be a whole variety of shapes, and are mostly very irregular or baroque, but round and oval shaped pearls have been found. The sizes are generally from 2mm to 10mm maximum, and there's no example of a larger scallop pearl as of yet. The colours come in a range of autumnal colours such as oranges and reds, but deepening in colour to purples, blues and browns. Not only is finding a scallop pearl a rare treat, but you also could have any shape or colour. Scallop pearls are rarely white unless they are very tiny seed pearls, but all of the colours reportedly have the same glitter coating that makes them stand out as especially beautiful.

 

They are worth a lot of money, ranging between $100 to $2,000 per carat for scallop pearls, but since they do not get that large they do not sell for as high a price as abalone, conch or melo melo pearls. However the rarity and the inability to culture them has pushed the value of them up to beyond that of a regular oyster pearl, with exception of the finest AAA graded Hanadama pearls.

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