HowStuffWorks "How do oysters make pearls?"

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** How do oysters make pearls? **

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How do oysters make pearls?

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Lots More Information

­How can a mollusk be responsible for such beauty?

Cate Gillon/­Getty Images

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­­Most jewelry is fashioned out of precious metals and jewels that are
found buried in the Earth, but pearls are found inside a living creature,
an oyster. Pearls are the result of a biological process -- the oyster's
way of protecting itself from foreign substances.

Oysters are not the only type of mollusk that can produce pearls. Clams and
mussels can also produce pearls, but that is a much rarer occurrence. Most
pearls are produced by oysters in both freshwater and saltwater
environments. To understand how pearls are formed in oysters, you must
first understand an oyster's basic anatomy.

Oysters are *bivalves*, which means that its


Source: science.howstuffworks.com/zoology/marine-life/question630.htm


how is a pearl formed


Pearl - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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** Pearl **

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Pearl (disambiguation).

Pearl
White pearl necklace.jpg
Pearls
General
Category Mineral
Formula
(repeating unit) CaCO[3]
Identification
Color white, pink, silver-, cream-, brown, green, blue, black, yellow,
rainbow

2369
Cleavage none
Mohs scale hardness 2.5–4.5
Streak white
Specific gravity 2.60–2.85
Dispersion none
Ultraviolet fluorescence weak, cannot be evaluated. Genuine black p .: Red
to reddish River-p.: Strong: pale green

A *pearl* is a hard object produced within the soft tissue (specifically
the mantle) of a living shelled mollusc. Just like the shell of a clam, a
pearl is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has
been deposited in concentric layers. The ideal pearl is perfectly round and
smooth, but many other shapes of pearls (baroque pearls) occur. The finest
quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of
beauty for many centuries, and because of this, the word pearl has become a
metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable.

The most valuable pearls occur spontaneously in the wild, but they are
extremely rare. These wild pearls are referred to as natural pearls.
Cultured or farmed pearls from pearl oysters and freshwater mussels make up
the majority of those that are currently sold. Imitation pearls are also
widely sold in inexpensive jewelry, but the quality of their iridescence is
usually very poor, and often, artificial pearls are easily distinguished
from genuine pearls. Pearls have been harvested and cultivated primarily
for use in jewelry, but in the past they were also stitched onto lavish
clothing. Pearls have also been crushed and used in cosmetics, medicines,
and in paint formulations.

Whether wild or cultured, gem quality pearls


Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl

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