Posted by Rachel Leigh - email
FORT PIERCE, FL (WFLX) - They are some of the most beautiful gems in the world. They're pearls produced by a queen conch, and are now being cultured right here in our area.
Researchers have created a technique to make pearls in queen conchs in a lab at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce.
Harbor Branch executive Megan Davis and a former co-worker are now patenting their technique and have formed a company called Rose Pearl.
She says the pearls are absolutely gorgeous and come in an assortment of colors. "What's unique about a conch pearl is its irridescent quality, almost like an opal, and that's what makes a conch pearl so unique," said Davis.
One in 10,000 conchs produces a pearl; and only one in 100 of those is gem quality. But Davis says she's had an 80 percent success rate culturing conch pearls.
The queen conch cultured pearls cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500 per carat depending on the quality.