Keshi is the Japanese word for poppy seed. The term is originally reserved for very small pearls produced by loose tissue pieces in akoya pearl oysters. It’s now used for all pearls produced by loose tissue pieces in both freshwater and saltwater varieties.
Keshi pearls, a type of baroque pearls (those with an irregular, non-spherical shape), are particularly known for their intriguing shapes and one-of-a-kind attributes. They do not contain bead nuclei and are entirely made up of solid nacre, which gives them their stunning glow and iridescent appearance.
Although they can grow naturally in saltwater oysters, most keshi pearls are a by-product of the pearl culturing process.
Keshi pearls can grow in two ways. After an oyster is nucleated with a shell bead and a mantle tissue piece, it may reject the bead or the tissue piece may simply separate from the bead. When this happens, the loose tissue piece might produce a keshi alongside the main cultured pearl.
They can also form in existing pearl sacs after the first generation pearls are harvested. During the nucleation process, a mollusc is implanted with both a bead nucleus and a mantle tissue piece. When the mollusc secretes nacre, it forms a pearl sac to envelop the bead. After the first generation pearls are harvested, farmers may return the molluscs back to the water without inserting anything to grow second-generation pearls. Keshi can grow subsequently in these existing pearl sacs.
The size of keshi range between 2mm and 10mm. These fabulous gems are truly amazing. They’re incredibly luminous and fun to wear. Large keshi pearls with intense lustre and orient are very rare. In fact, keshi are one of the most sought-after baroque pearls nowadays. Not only are they beautiful and unique, they’re super light to wear compared to bead nucleated baroque pearls.
To find out more information on the value of keshi baroque pearls and how to buy the best quality ones, be sure to check out this in-depth guide.