The Issue of Tissue

Marc Freeman says his round metallic-luster 10 mm and 11 mm Chinese freshwater cultured pearls are 100 percent nacre. There's no nucleus. And he challenges the gem-identification laboratories that call Chinese cultured freshwaters "tissue nucleated" but describe Japanese and Chinese akoya saltwater bead-nucleated pearls—with less than 10 percent nacre—as "cultured." Freeman, owner of Freeman Gem Co. in Los Angeles, has spent a lot of money, time, and effort providing proof that his pearls are top quality—all nacre (no nucleus), natural color (not dyed or bleached), and naturally round (not bead-nucleated or ground round). Since he doesn't accept current nucleation terminology, he's providing new vocabulary for the product. But will anyone use it? According to Freeman, Chinese freshwater cultured pearls are "activated" by a minute piece of mantle tissue. Producers don't use a mo
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