How do oysters make pearls?

Pearls are formed when a grain of sand or other irritating object gets inside the shell and the oyster coats it with layers of pearl.

Most gems are found in rocks.  But pearls are found inside the shells of oysters and other shellfish.  Most pearls come from pearl oysters, which live in warm seas.

Sea Animal

Pearls are made of the same lustrous mother-of-pearl material that times the inside of the oyster’s shell.

When a grain of sand or other foreign object finds its way inside the oyster’s shell, it irritates the oyster’s soft body.

To protect itself the oyster covers the invading object with many layers of pearl.

After a time, a shiny ball has grown around the irritating object, forming a pearl.  When a small beads is placed inside its shell, the oyster starts covering the bead with pearly layers.  In a few years, a fine pearl is formed.

Pearls made in this manner are called “cultured” pearls.  For pearls come from oysters we eat.  Most edible oysters do to make pretty pearl. – Dick Rogers

 

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2 Comments

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