Pearls are some of the fascinating things that a living creature produces. They come in various shapes, colors and sizes. However, not a lot of people know how these gemstones form in the first place. Are they cultivated? A lot of people don’t know where pearls come from. The only thing that people know about pearls is that they are used in the jewelry-making industry.
The whereabouts of pearls and their formation are quite an interesting topic to discuss. Along with their rarity, pearls are quite unknown to a normal person. If you are interested in the formation of pearls and where they come from, you are at the right spot as we will discuss the history of pearls, where they come from, and how they are formed.
Where Do Pearls Come From? Interesting Things You Need To Know
So, where do pearls come from? Pearls come from mollusks, and they are marine creatures that belong to the family of Mollusca. They are popularly known as sea creatures covered in shells, namely, oysters, mussels, and clams.
Pearl comes from these creatures that have a defense mechanism that releases a form of substance, a combination of conchiolin and aragonite that is called nacre. This is to help protect their insides from a foreign substance damaging their fragile body.
When an irritant seeps into its inside, the nacre is then released by the oyster or mussel. It then wraps the foreign substance that may cause any harmful interaction with the creature. As a result, the nacre then wraps the irritant up to the point that it forms a layer of the coating, forming a pearl. Once wrapped, it won’t deal any harm to the mollusk anymore, forming the pearl.
Today, more than 95% of pearls are cultivated, and only 1% are found in the wild. And, finding saltwater pearls in the wild is relatively hard as it can be attributed to various factors such as typhoons, tsunamis, tidal waves, and many more.
When pearls are cultivated, an irritant is usually inserted onto the mollusk to promote the process of making pearls. Anything that gets inside the shell, the nacre will form around it and form different shapes and sizes.
Mussels are known to provide freshwater pearls, whereas mollusks are known to make saltwater pearls. Although mussels and clams produce pearls of a unique variety, they don’t produce as much as oysters do. That’s why oysters are the main stars when it comes to producing pearls.
Most people think of pearls as a white marble-like piece of jewelry, but it is not the case for almost all of them. Instead, they come in various shapes, sizes, and even colors, from shades of blue, purple, green, and even grey.
Whether they are cultured or found in the wild, the quality of the pearls is of equal variety. However, cultivated pearls are much cheaper compared to pearls found in the wild as they are more abundant and established compared to wild pearls.
Fascinating Facts About Pearls You Never Knew
Now that you know where pearls come from, it is about time where you get to explore the life of pearls and some interesting facts about them. If you are in for a treat, we will be giving you some fascinating facts about pearls you never knew.
They are the only gemstone coming from a living thing
Compared to rubies and diamonds, pearls are mainly produced by living creatures such as oysters, mussels, and clams. All gemstones in the world aside from pearls are found in the Earth’s crust.
Natural pearls are quite hard to find
It is noted that pearls found in the wild are very rare. For example, the odds of oysters containing a pearl in the wild is 1 out of 100,000. That’s why pearls are cultivated in pearl farms to meet the demands of the jewelry-making industry. It is also believed that of all the jewelry in the world that has pearls on it, only 1% of them comes from the wild, whereas the rest is cultivated.
That is the name of the most famous pearl in the world with 550 years of rich history. The La Peregrina has been passed down by royal families over 550 years and is still intact up to this very day. The term ‘La Peregrina’ translates to ‘Incomparable’ in Spanish.
The most expensive pearl ever found is valued at $100 million
This hundred million dollar pearl was found in the saltwater regions of Palawan in the Philippines. It was discovered by a Filipino fisherman who then took it home and hid it in his bed. The pearl was named Pearl of Puerto as it was found on the coast of Puerto Princesa in Palawan. It is also the largest pearl ever found as it was 26 inches in diameter.
The oldest pearl dates back to 7500 years. This ancient pearl was found in a gravesite near the United Arab Emirates in 2012, and it was from a sarcophagus from a Persian princess. However, despite being a rarity, it is a relatively small type of pearl that measures around a third of a centimeter in diameter.
Diving for pearls was a dangerous way of living. Back in the days when pearls were naturally found rather than being cultivated, it used to be a very dangerous job as these divers went to incredible depths looking for wild pearls. Today, pearl diving is now a subject of various rules and regulations that are strictly implemented.
Pearls are unique in their ways, and they are rare and complement jewelry like no other. They are also the only gemstones that are produced by living creatures making them a class of their own. In this article, we hope we’ve answered various questions regarding pearls, such as where do pearls come from and how they are formed.
To cap it off, pearls are made because oysters, clams, and mussels have a defense mechanism that allows them to secrete a substance called nacre. As nacre wraps a foreign substance that enters their insides, it slowly wraps this foreign substance and will eventually coat it and form pearls.
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