Rare Pacific Lion's Paw Scallop Pearl—"Mano de Leon"

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Lot 3478
Rare Pacific Lion's Paw Scallop Pearl—"Mano de Leon"

Sold for US$ 2,684 inc. premium

Natural History

17 May 2011, 13:00 EDT

New York

Rare Pacific Lion's Paw Scallop Pearl—"Mano de Leon"
Nodipecten subnodosus
Coastal waters of Baja California Peninsula, Mexico

A scallop pearl is a non-nacreous calcareous concretion produced by any member of the pectinidae (scallop) family. Unlike other non-nacreous pearls, such as the melo-melo and conch pearl, the scallop pearl comes from a bivalve mollusk know as the "Mano de Leon", or the "The Pacific Lion's Paw". This shellfish garners its name due to the unique shape of its shell, which resembles a lion's paw. Scallop pearls are native to the coastal waters of Central and North America and most commonly found off the coast of Baja California Peninsula. The scallop pearl is a very rare occurrence and is the bi-product of wild-harvested scallops. A typical scallop fisherman might discover a mere handful throughout his entire career.

Due to the rarity of the gem, scallops are not sought for their pearls. Scallop pearls have a unique shape and coloration absent in other calcareous concretions. They are generally symmetrical in an oval, round, drop, or button shape, and their color is unique among all pearls and calcareous concretions. They generally display a rare maroon to plum coloration, and are also commonly found in deep purple, orange and pink. Like conch pearls, scallop pearls have a unique 3-dimensional effect within the reflective platelets of their surface, which adds to the unique beauty of the gem, yet the appearance of this iridescence is not in a “flame patter” but rather a unique circular pattern with intersecting lines.

The lion-paw scallop is the largest scallop found in the Eastern Pacific and is distributed around the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. Large for the species and of spherical outline, the present, distinctive pearl, displays a light burgundy wine color and a unique pattern on its surface resembling that of a Mercedes Benz symbol, undrilled. Weighing approximately 4.53 carats and measuring 9.0 x 8.5mm
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