Walking along a coastline of a beach and one notices a pearl in the sand. It is just there in the sand in all its iridescent luster.
One may wonder, where did it come from?
Pearls come from oysters, but how is a pearl formed? A pearl is formed inside of an oyster. Contrary to popular belief it is hardly ever formed from sand, water and other debris that get into an oyster. Overtime, these can cause discoloration of the pearl as it is formed.
It is actually a little more miraculous than that. A pearl is formed inside an oyster, when a wayward food particle becomes trapped in its mollusk. It does not need to be a wayward food particle though, it can be some other irritant. The live oyster begins its process of turning out a beautiful shimmering iridescent pearl.
Pearls are extremely special because their beauty comes from the living oyster.
They are not a gemstones that are being dug up or chiseled out of rock. They are not formed from coal the way that diamonds are.
Pearls can be formed in freshwater and saltwater environments. This makes the process of their formation more incredible.
So how does an oyster form a pearl?
Once an irritant is trapped within the oyster’s mollusk, it then coats it with layers of aragonite and conchiolin. These are the same materials that the animal uses to build its shell.
Aragonite is a mineral that is six sided crystals arranged in flat sheets. The mollusk will secrete a thin layer of conchiolin.
Conchiolin is a thin membrane forming protein. This material is called mother-of-pearl or scientific name nacre. The nacre reflects light and this is what gives pearls their high luster.
The contrast is when the pearls are nacreous. They have a more porcelain-like surface and low luster. The small needle-like crystals of the aragonite that is in these pearls are arranged at an angle to the surface of the pearl. Isn’t it amazing how pearls are formed?
Let’s move on to fashion with pearls. The best thing about pearls is not only how they are formed. Pearls are classic and will never go out of style. Every jewelry box should contain pearls of some kind. Pearls are great to have for a night out and for a day of work, they go with practically every outfit in wardrobes.
Pearls can be combined with other beautiful jewels for a spectacular piece to love and wear forever. Pearls are back in for this year and have made many top lists of accessories to have in Fall wardrobes.
How pearls are formed is quite interesting. Knowing this process makes having them in your Autumn wardrobe even more special. Fashion has always loved the classic look of pearls and will continue to do so.
Add a necklace, pearl bracelet, or other pearl piece to your jewelry box. "First Ladies" and fashionistas continue to count on pearls in their jewelry boxes. The next time walking along the beach keep an eye out for beautiful pearls! At the very least you'll know how they are formed.