While white and black pearls are still highly coveted, newer types of cultured pearls, such as those from the queen conch (pictured), come in a wide variety and combination of colors. These include red, pink, orange, yellow and brown, in addition to the more traditional white.
The conch pearls look like they have a porcelain finish and exhibit incredible luster. Queen conches do not die after harvest and may live up to 40 years. If a jewelry aficionado can wait, this means that a single conch can produce enough pearls for a bracelet, earrings or some other item.
While the new study and prior research have solved many longstanding questions about pearl formation, some mysteries still remain. For example, the enzymatic and self-assembly mechanisms underlying pearl formation are still largely unknown to science.
The complex overall process, the beauty of the produced items, and the lingering mysteries about pearls, though, continue to fuel admiration of these precious gems.