What Is Keshi?

Large baroque pearls from Tahiti, the South Seas, and China labeled as keshi have been coming into the U.S. market, so we asked pearl expert Giuseppe Lombardo of the Pearl Exporting Co., Kobe, Japan, to answer a few questions about keshi pearls. JCK: What is keshi? Giuseppe Lombardo:Keshi is actually a term derived from the Japanese word for “poppy seed,” and is traditionally used to describe small, seed-size pearls found as unintentional byproducts of culturing bead-nucleated Japanese akoya cultured pearls. Keshi, like natural pearls, are formed when an irritant makes its way inside the oyster, and nacre (mother-of-pearl) is laid down to protect the oyster from the foreign object. In the marketplace, many dealers are using the term keshi and referring to Chinese freshwater pearls. Chinese freshwater pearls are not the traditional keshi. JCK: Are they easy to find? GL: Curren

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