WHAT IS A PEARL ?
- Pearl is an organic “gem”, that is, a gem that comes from a living thing (other examples of organic gems include coral and amber).
- A pearl is a living gem, and each pearl is a miracle of nature. It is a lustrous concretion (i.e. a rounded mass of compact concentric layers built up around a nucleus) produced by certain bivalve mollusks, including mussels and oysters.
- The pearl is an abnormal growth resulting from the invasion of the body of the mollusk by foreign matter.
- The oyster soothe irritations caused by those external or internal stimuli (such as sand grains, mollusk eggs, parasites and other foreign particles) by secreting a brownish solution called Conchiolin. Conchiolin is a fibrous protein that makes up the inner part of the oyster shell.
- Over this conchiolin, the oyster coats the invading material with layer upon layer of nacreous material. The conchiolin binds the nacre together. Nacre is the hard pearly internal layer of the oyster shells. It takes thousands of very thin layers of this nacre to make a single pearl.
- Each pearlis made through a biological process inside the oysters. A pearl is made of thousands layers of conchiolin.
- The materials making up the pearl is secreted by the mantle (i.e., the part of the oyster’s internal body with glands that secrete a shell-producing substance) as the response to the irritant material. It is a remarkable feat of nature that a living oyster produces such an exquisite work of art.
- Since pearl is made through a biological process inside the oysters, no two pearls are identical. It is understood then why the Latin word for pearl is margarita which means “unique”. (In the romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian), margarita means pearl).
- Nacre, also referred to as mother-of-pearl, is composed primarily of aragonite crystal.
- Aragonite crystal is a solid material in which the component atoms are arranged in a definite pattern and whose surface regularity reflects its internal symmetry. The crystals that are lined in symmetry within layers making up the pearl create prismatic effect as light travels through each layer. This prismatic effect contributes to the light-reflecting qualities of pearl known as its luster and iridescence.
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