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Scallop Pearls

Lion's Paw pearls are natural pearls from the scallop "Nodipecten subnodosus ". They are calcareous concretions that are created by a bivalve organism whose shell resembles a lion's paw, hence their native name Mano de Leon or "hand of the lion". Lion's Paw pearls are found off the coast of Baja California and until the year 2000 no one in the gem industry had ever seen a natural pearl from this scallop. These natural pearls that are found within the organism are mostly symmetrical. There are buttons, rounds, drops, and ovals and they are in sizes from seed to 40 carats. Some of the shapes are baroque and quite interesting. These pearls are byproducts of harvesting scallops in the wild and they are very rare.

Lion's Paw pearls range in colors from white to deep royal purple with varying shades of oranges, pinks and plums. They are non-nacreous pearls with a mosaic pattern with a flash effect similar to the flame-like pattern on a conch (strombus gigas) and melo melo (melo amphora) pearl. However, unlike the conch and melo melo, which are univalves, the scallop is a bivalve filter feeder much like an oyster. The mosaic pattern that covers the entire surface of the pearls has a sheen-like or metallic three-dimensional effect when viewed in light.

Pacific Coast Pearls
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