‘Activated Schmacktivated’

Avi Raz, of A&Z Pearls in Los Angeles, and Dr. Henry Hänni, of SSEF in Basel, Switzerland, have taken issue with the term tissue-activated in pearl culturing (see “Pearl Expert Says CFWCPs Not Tissue Nucleated,” JCK, May 2006, p. 71). “I mean, how strong is the residual activity after the tissue is activated?” asks Hänni, tongue in cheek. Elisabeth Strack, G.G., FGA, instructor at the Gemmologisches Institut of Hamburg and author of the book Perlen, uses the term tissue-activated to describe the non–bead nucleation process of inserting a piece of mantle tissue into a mussel to create a pearl. Since there is no nucleus, Strack suggests that the inserted tissue activates the mussel’s tissue in creating a new pearl sack. Grahame Browne writes in GEMS, sixth edition, that the tissue is actually grafted into the tissue of the mussel and therefore should be termed mantle-

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