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Ch. 4: Structure and Forms of Pearls

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follows that the deposited nacre roughly assumes the irregular out­line of the inclosed object. This is strikingly shown in pearls covering a minute fish, a crayfish, or a small crab. Several specimens have been found in which the species could be identified by examination through the nacreous coating.
In the American Unios there is a strong tendency to produce elongated pearls near the hinge of the shell, which are consequently known as "hinge pearls." The occurrence and form of these suggest that their origin may not be due to nuclei, but that they result from an excess of carbonate of lime in the water, and that the animal stores a surplus of nacre in this convenient form. There are several standard forms of these hinge pearls. Many are elongated or dog-toothed, some are hammer-shaped, others resemble the wings of birds, the petals of flowers, the bodies of fish, and various other objects. A large percentage of the pearls found in Unios of the Mississippi Valley are of these types.
Some irregular pearls or baroques are very large, weighing an ounce or more. A well-known example is the Hope pearl, described on page 463, which weighs three ounces. These monster pearls sometimes as­sume odd shapes, such as clasped hands, the body of a man, lion, or other animal, etc.
Although baroques may have a pearly luster, they are not highly prized unless unusually attractive, and they have little permanent value, apart from their estimation in the eyes of admirers of the curious and unique. They are used largely in l'art nouveau, and in forming odd and fanciful objects of jewelry, the designer taking ad­vantage of the resemblance which they bear to common objects of every-day life, and by additions of gold and other ornaments complet­ing the form which nature had merely suggested.
Some remarkable examples of baroque mountings have been pro­duced, and a few are to be found in most of the large pearl collections. In a single case in the Imperial Treasury at Vienna are baroques forming the principal parts or figures of a horse, stag, lamb, tortoise, lizard, cock, dragon, butterfly, gondola, hippopotamus, female bust, and three mermaids. Other well-known collections are those of the royal family of Saxony in the Grüne Gewölbe at Dresden ; those in the Palace of Rosenberg at Copenhagen; in the Waddesden (Rothschild) collection of the British Museum; among the jewels in the Louvre in Paris; with the treasures of the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice; and in the museum of the University of Moscow.
A remarkable pearl-like ornament more common in Asia than in the Occident, is the coque de perle, which is an oval section of the globose whorl of the Indian nautilus. The exterior or convex surface is highly
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Kunz. The Book of the Pearl.
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