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Shell Help? - greg23 - 05-03-2009

Hi guys, thanks for looking...

My aunt has this shell, and is wondering what information (if any) someone could give on it. What type of shell, where it comes from, what it's worth etc.

Thank you

Front
<img src="http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/2788/cimg3407h.jpg" alt="http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/2788/cimg3407h.jpg" style="border:0" />
Back
<img src="http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/6043/cimg3408z.jpg" alt="http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/6043/cimg3408z.jpg" style="border:0" />  <span class="petit">--Last edited by greg23 on 2009-05-03 00:37:29 --</span>


Shell Help? - paul monfils - 05-03-2009

This is the gold-lip pearl oyster, one of the species in which valuable pearls are produced. It is from the tropical Indo-Pacific region.  Its scientific name is Pinctada maxima. When a mollusc produces a pearl, the outer surface of the pearl has the same texture and luster as the inside of the shell. Some shells with dull white interiors produce dull white pearls that are not worth anything. But in this species the pearls are extremely smooth and lustrous, because the inside of the shell is, and that's what makes them valuable.  The outside of the shell in this species is usually black and rather scaly, but the outer surface of this specimen has been ground away and polished to produce a decorative item.  The gloss on the interior however is natural.  This species is a bivalve, so what you actually have here is a half shell.  Originally there was another similar mirror-image valve that fit against this one to make a complete shell.  <span class="petit">--Last edited by Paul Monfils on 2009-05-12 19:14:57 --</span>


Shell Help? - greg23 - 05-03-2009

That's amazing! Thank you so much for the information! Any idea on the value of this... or the value of a pair?

Would I be right in thinking they are quite common? Even at 8" ?  <span class="petit">--Last edited by greg23 on 2009-05-03 02:18:04 --</span>


Shell Help? - paul monfils - 05-03-2009

Yes, these are very common since they are involved in a major industry, where they are harvested literally by the ton.  An average size, specimen quality shell might be worth about $10.00.  That would mean both matched valves, natural condition, no trimming, polishing, grinding, etc., and accompanied by collection data.  Your shell would be considered "commercial quality" from a serious collector's point of view, and most collectors are not interested in commercial quality shells. Your shell has 4 strikes against it, from a collector viewpoint.  It is a single unmatched valve. Its outer surface has been reworked as described above.  Its edge has been artificially smoothed.  And it is not accompanied by collection data, which is important to serious collectors.  Still, the amount of work done to produce this decorative item does add something to its value, just for a different clientele.  Wholesalers sell them to tourist and gift shops for about $6 to $10, and I'm sure you would pay more than that if you purchased it in a shop.  You can see a similar item here (Polished Mop Plate).  "Mop" means "Mother-of-Pearl".

<a href="http://www.shellhorizons.com/products.asp?Category=10&curPage=2&direction=forward" target="_blank"><!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.shellhorizons.com/products.asp?Category=10&curPage=2&direction=forward">http://www.shellhorizons.com/products.a ... on=forward</a><!-- m --></a>  <span class="petit">--Last edited by Paul Monfils on 2009-05-03 02:39:31 --</span>


Shell Help? - greg23 - 05-03-2009

Thank you very much for your help Paul. Much appreciated!!


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