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Pearl Types
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Japan. Most of the Chinese freshwater pearl cultivation techniques came from Japanese pearl farmers, so too the South Sea pearl culti­vation techniques of the black- and silver/gold-lipped pearl oysters.

Chien Lin prefers to refer to these reborn pearls as "keshi-type cultured freshwater pearls" because the nature of the reborn pearls is different from that of other
keshi pearls. Reborn pearls are intentionally created while keshi pearls are created by accident.

Japanese Akoya keshi are becoming more and more difficult to find because of recent decreases in Japanese Akoya pearl production, but some other types of keshi are becoming more available due to the increase in overall production of freshwater pearls and black, white and yellow South Sea pearls. Akoya keshi are sent for processing to countries with low labor costs because the majority of Akoya keshi are very small or thin and thus have smaller-than-usual holes that must be drilled by hand without using any power tools.

In summary the term "keshi" has been used to refer to five different types of pearls. They are:

1.   Natural seed pearls. The term "keshi" was used for these pearls before cultured pearls ever existed.

2.   Pearls that form as by-products of the Japanese Akoya pearl oyster culturing process from nacre secretion around microorganisms or shell particles that enter the pearl during pearl nucleation. The nacre may also be secreted around detached fragments of mantle tissue inserted with the pearl nuclei. The Akoya oyster has only one grafting and one harvest of cultured pearls and keshi.

3.    Pearls that form as by-products of the South Sea and black pearl oyster culturing process. These oysters can have up to two re-seedings of nuclei, and thus produce up to three pearls during the oyster's life cycle. Keshi pearls can be found in all three harvests.

4.    Tiny seed-like pearls that form as by-products of the freshwater pearl culturing process from microorganisms or particles of shell or mud. These are found in the first or second harvest of freshwater pearl mussels.

5.    Chinese reborn freshwater pearls, which are found in the second harvest. These are keshi-type pearls but not true keshi because they're intentionally cultivated-not formed accidentally. Nevertheless, they're sometimes sold as keshi by dealers. Because of the confusing use of the term "keshi" and the fact that their origin cannot be proved, labs such as the GIA Gem Trade Lab don't identify keshi on their lab reports. They simply call them cultured pearls.
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