Learn About Pearls...How Do They Get Started?

The mystery about pearls is that no man can create them in laboratory...always a mollusk is needed, either an sea oyster or freshwater mussel.

Natural pearls occur in one oyster or mussel out of a thousand..that's quite a pile of mollusks to go through before finding a treasure.

Just how does this pearl get started?

An irritant enters the mollusk either when it is open or sometimes it actually burrows through the shell from the outside. As the irritant enters the mollusk, in order for it to be the cause of a new pearl, it must pick up some of the mollusk's mantle tissue on the way into the inside of the mollusk. It's the mantle tissue that forms a pearl sac over the irritant and begins secreting the calcium carbonate base called nacre.

So, not every piece of sand, larvae or parasite entering a mollusk becomes a pearl.

Man has not been able to duplicate the way light passing through the layers of nacre reflect and refract off one another.

Thomas Edison once said to Mikimoto that the two things he couldn't make in his laboratory were diamonds and pearls. Well...diamonds can now be created synthetically...but still not pearls. I'm sure someone is working on it, however.

So...do you think you could start taking irritants in your life and turn them into beautiful pearls? What a challenge! And the humble, lowly mollusk's lead the way in this miraculous process.

Go to main Natural Pearl page after learning a little bit about pearls.

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