Conch (pronounced konk) pearls are a byproduct of the fishing industry with fossils of conch dating back as far as 65 million year and the Indians of the central areas of Colombia used to trade emeralds for conch shell in pre-Columbian times. Manuel Marcial de Gomar, founder of Emeralds International, started making conch pearl jewelry after he discovered this incredibly rare and beautiful treasure of the ocean, almost 50 years ago. It started while on a break from his emerald mining and wholesaling business and during one of his regular trips to the San Bernardo Islands where he owned property. One successful fishing day he traded 8 lobster with a local fisherman named Regino Castillo, for a fine pink pearl that later was made into a beautiful gold pendant with emerald and diamond accents. Although he felt that he might be getting the short end of the deal since he knew nothing of the history of conch pearl jewelry at the time or what he was looking at, that same pendant sold for over $6000.00 in the 1980’s and was featured in the Gemological Institute of America’s Gems & Gemology winter publication. Since then Manuel Marcial de Gomar has become a globally renowned conch pearl dealer and has designed more natural conch pearl jewelry over his 50 years than any other jeweler we know of. His designs have ranged from natural sea life designs to his classic free form styles as well as more contemporary styles in rings and pendants in yellow, white & rose gold, platinum and even 22Kt gold. A Marcial de Gomar conch pearl design has it’s own unique style and combination. The conch pearl is also a calcareous secretion versus the nacreous secretion of it’s cousin, the bivalve mollusk that produces cultured and natural pearls. It is therefore harder and slightly more durable. Conch pearl, like all pearls, are considered evening wear and therefore due care should be given to these incredibly rare gems. Only a small percentage of an annual harvest of approximately 2000 to 3000 pearls, are considered gem quality. Consider that the cultured pearl industry produces pearls by the billions, should give you a better perspective of how unique a gem the natural queen conch pearl is, and that only a fraction of a percentage of the population will ever own a natural conch pearl design. Emeralds International has been offering a lifetime exchange policy on it’s conch pearl jewelry due to the fact that these works of art have always held their value and have been increasing in value over the decades. Emeralds international has one of the largest selections of loose conch pearls in the world as well as a larger selection of finished jewelry designs featuring conch pearl . As we continue to replenish our designs and update our website, feel free to contact us for a custom design option with conch pearl. We have made and sold a large number of conch pearl and diamond and conch pearl and emerald engagement rings over the decades. Tiffany’s, Harry Winston and some other contemporary designers have been putting conch pearls even more on the map, and with their ever increasing popularity and demand but decreasing supply from overfishing, ocean acidification and other factors, these pearls may not be available at all in the future.