What exactly is a coin pearl? Today I was asked about “those flat pearls” and I realized it was a good time to talk about what those flat pearls really are. They are called coin pearls.
A coin pearl is literally shaped in the size of a coin, although thicker. They are usually about the size of a dime but they can be found both larger and smaller. A coin pearl has a nucleus and the nucleus, again is in the shape of a coin.
How Are Coin Pearls Formed?
A pearl farmer places a shell or bead disc inside a mussel or oyster and it forms the pearl over the disc shape. This is the exact way many pearls are formed, except, in round pearls, a round nucleus is placed inside of the oyster.
When a disc shaped nucleus is placed inside the mollusk, it forms a gorgeous pearl with a variable surface (sometimes the surface of coin pearls is smooth and sometimes it is rough, spotted or irregular). I love coin pearls because it almost looks like someone hand-poured the pearl material over a disc shaped surface. Yes, sometimes there can be subtle notches, bumps and more on the surface of coin pearls. This simply adds to their uniqueness and beauty!
Another really great aspect to coin pearls is the Orient. Orient is the rainbow iridescence that comes to life in some pearls. Pearls with an uneven surface texture are more likely to show orient which is why coin pearls usually display this feature. It is all about how the light reflects off the surface of the nacre. To read more about Orient, read my post on Oriental Pearls.
These pearls are a lovely display of how human intervention can be utilized to create beautiful pearls. In this case the cultured coin pearl is a gorgeous pearl option and make for some striking jewelry pieces. (Check out my new favorites, the Oriental Pearl Earrings)
I also launched some limited edition Cute as A Button Earrings. I’m sorry if they are no longer available by the time you read this! These earrings have less of the Orient effect but are so beautiful because of their large and wearable shape!
I am a modern day treasure hunter who travels the world for gorgeous pearls and amazing adventures. I own a pearl jewelry and jewelry repair business, ThePearlGirls.com, with a cute retail store in Athens, GA.