Melo melo pearls are amongst the rarest gems in the world.
They're created by the Indian Volute (also known as the zebra snail or Melo Melo): an extremely large marine gastropod from the Volutidae family, found in Southeastern Asian waters of Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.
These extremely rare, natural pearls are produced when an irritant, such as a parasite, enters the mollusk. As a defense mechanism, the snail will coat the irritant with a calcium carbonate, over time producing a porcelaneous, non-nacreous pearl.
The finest melo pearls are an intense orange color with visible flame patterning that appears to move beneath the pearl's surface. This flame-like or silk-like appearance is due to a phenomena known as chatoyancy.
Melo pearls can range in size from just a couple millimeters to over 30mm in diameter! The largest recorded melo pearl weighs just under 400 carats (397.52 cts.)