Conch pearls are amongst the rarest gems in the world.
A conch is a medium to large-sized marine gastropod from the Strombidae family, known as the Lobatus Gigas (formerly known as Strombus Gigas), or Queen Conch. They are found off the coast of the Bahamas, Florida Keys, Caribbean Islands and Bermuda where they're harvested for their delicious meat. Popular conch dishes include conch fritters, conch salad and conch chowder.
Very rarely, a natural pearl will be found inside a conch shell. These natural conch pearls are produced when an irritant, such as a parasite, enters the mollusk. As a defense mechanism, the conch will coat the irritant with a calcium carbonate, over time producing a porcelain-like pearl. Approximately 1 out of every 10,000 to 15,000 conchs will produce a pearl. Only 1 out of every 100,000 to 150,000 conchs will produce a gem quality conch pearl!
The finest conch pearls are pink to red with visible flame patterning that looks like it's moving beneath the surface of the pearl. It's unusual for a conch pearl to exceed 3mm in diameter. Conch pearls over 10mm are considered exceptionally rare, especially in pink to red hues with visible flame.