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Pearl Education - Please enter your jewelry question or comment. > Tahitian Pearls

Bivalve Mollusk
07-20-2011, 02:17 PM

Also known as Pinctada margaritifera cumingii, these French Polynesian native mollusks were named for Englishman Hugh Cuming (1791-1865). Cuming, having made quite a fortune at an early age, devoted much of his life to collecting shells and discovering new species. During his tour through the Polynesian islands, he briefly attempted pearl farming, but was later known more for his extensive collection of marine shells.

Pinctada margaritifera cumingii can live up to 30 years and tend to grow larger in the more southern regions of French Polynesia. The interior of the shells themselves can be found in a range of colors, from grey to brown to white, with iridescent overtones of pink and green. In the very early stages of development, the young larvae float away into stream of plankton before dropping down to attach to the seabed. The survival rate of these juvenile mollusks in their natural habitat is low.
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