Rosebud and Pondslime Effects

Fw pearl special effects: some popular phenomena

Some freshwater pearls have distinctive characteristics such as surface texture or color that we need to reference by a name. These are not to our knowledge the result of any cultivation strategy, and do not seem to constitute a separate category. Here we describe two such characterstics or effects that have been very popular in recent years.

Rosebud surface - found among China freshwater non-nucleated pearls

Pearls with small bumps covering parts of their surface are sometimes described as strawberry pearls or rosebud. Some pearls have bumps of comparable size to green ones found on actual rose buds. Others have nacre more finely textured, reminiscent of annealed metal or fine hammering. Celebrated as an extra rarity among American natural freshwater pearls, rosebud surface also occurs in some non-nucleated Chinese freshwater pearls. Chinese vendors call them "mao-jyue", hairy pearls.  

Most Cfw pearls with rosebud surface also have pronounced flattening on one side, and it is not common to find rosebud pearls that are carefully matched and evenly shaped. As a result, most Cfw rosebud material is quite inexpensive, and available in mixed typical, white, and many dyed colors. We try to carry strands with less flattened pearls and consistent typical colors especially pondlslime, but these are only occasionally available.

Just as other pearl phenomena such as banding or circling, the cause of rosebud surface is not known. It appears to occur more often where pearl sacs are subjected to pressure, since it is most often accompanied by flattening. It is also seen in some freshwater pearls that are devoid of luster or non-nacreous, and which appear to originate not from pearl cultivation but from mature wild (or possibly escaped) mussels that are harvested for shell and for tiny natural pearls (smaller than can be cultivated) they often contain. They may belong to a category that also includes feather pearls. For more details, see China freshwater feather pearls Rosebud or strawberry pearls occur more plentifully than do feather pearls, probably because many come from Cfw pearl cultivation. As a result, they are more widely known than are feather pearls and semi- or non-nacreous pearls, which probably do not.  Many Chinese vendors describe rosebud pearls as mao-jyue (hairy pearls).

Pond-slime color: uneven brown-green-goldy natural color - occurs in all types of freshwater pearls, with and without nucleus

Since freshwater pearls were cultivated, a small but significant portion of the output has had unevenly distributed colors we find reminiscent of algae blooms. These stable, naturally occurring colors are not as easily removed as the the typical freshwater nacre colors (peach, pink, lavender) which respond well to bleaching, both with chemicals and with sunlight. During the Japan FW pearl era (1960's to 80's) pearls of such colors were collected and sold to enthusiasts for unusual pearls. Pacific Pearls was always one, and kept freshwater pearls in stock that most people had never seen.

Chinese pearl processors apparently found these colors extremely unattractive, and for many years obliterated them with dark dyes whenever they occurred in medium to high quality pearls. Only very low qualities in which nobody wished to invest about $50- per kg for dyeing reached the market. The message that people will pay as much for pondslime color pearls as for black or peacock dyed finally got through around 2000.

Currently pond slime colors are available in nearly every freshwater pearl type. Due to their popularity with customers, Pacific Pearls offers pondlsime color freshwater pearls in many shapes and sizes