Red Sea Cultured Pearls
Yes. There are Red Sea cultured pearls. Jeremy Shepard, a pearl guru of Pearl Paradise had the extraordinary experience to see and bring home 2 strands of these unusually colored pearls from the Inhorgenta Show in Munich last February.
The Red Sea, as well as the Persian Gulf has a long history of a pearling culture. Bound on the west by Sudan and Egypt and the east by Saudi Arabia and Yemen, you can imagine that the political climate has been somewhat unstable. Perhaps if there had been a more stable environment, the pearling industry would have been eagerly developed.
The Red Sea is home to the Pinctada Magaritifera erythraensis oyster. As you remember, Tahitian pearls are grown in the Pinctada Magaritifera cumingii and Fijiian pearls in the Pinctada Magaritifera typica oysters.
There were two attempts to start a pearl culture in the Red Sea. The first time was in 1962, by the Japanese in Dungunab Bay in Sudan. It only lasted a few. years. The most recent try was in 1997 by Australians, Rosario Autore and William Reed in the same bay. Unfortunately, it also closed in a few years. All of the pearls cultured from these two attempts were sold to the same German company, Michael Bonke Company.
As you can tell from the picture that Jeremy took, the colors are very unusual, especially for the mother oyster, the same species as the Tahitian black pearls, but a different sub species. These pearls are a silvery white with overtones of champagne and rose. I don't know what Jeremy is going to do with these magnificent pearls, but I doubt we will see any more available soon. Just know that these beautiful pearls have existed.
What other pearl mysteries are out there?