How Pearls are Made – Oreo’s Discovery
Don’t you think pearls are just absolutely beautiful?
Well, I was just wondering…how these beauties are made, and where do they come from?
Well, here’s what I found out!
Firstly, a pearl is a hard object produced inside the soft tissue (specifically the mantle) of a living shelled mollusc. Well, just like the shell of an oyster, clam and mussels.
How are pearls produced?
Ooook! Oysters are two halves closed up together with a little opening, held together by an elastic ligament, which allows the opening to let in food for the oyster. When a foreign object or particle finds its way through the ligament; the oyster reacts by covering it up with layers on nacre (this is produced by the mantle, an organ that produces the oyster’s shell, using minerals from its food intake. It also uses this same process to produce its shell as it grows bigger) to protect itself from the object that maybe harmful to it. The covering on the foreign body/irritant becomes the pearl, after several coatings of nacre, which accounts for the shapes and colors of pearls. Other determinants of the color of pearls are the type of oyster, its aquatic environment, and oftentimes, when cultured, the farmers can influence the color by adding a tissue from another oyster when inserting the irritant.
Oysters produce pearls in both fresh water and salt water environments, which is why there are oyster farms where pearls are produced by implanting irritants into the oysters (cultured pearls), so that they are aggravated to produce the nacre coating for lovely pearls to form. These are usually not as expensive as natural pearls.
For many centuries, the finest qualities of natural pearls are highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty. It’s even used as a metaphor to emphasize the beauty of something or someone.