Sunday, April 22, 2007

How Pearls Are Made

Did you know that pearls are made because the oyster is fighting an irritant that is present in it's shell?

Well, that's what it is.

Everything happens for a reason. An irritant that is unwelcomed by the oyster actually has the chance to turn into one of the world's most beautiful and charming gem - pearl.

When an irritant, for example, a speck of sand, a parasite or even a man-made object (that is injected by humans for man-made pearls), the oyster will automatically use this lustrous layer inside it's shell call "nacre" to wrap this irritant around. By doing so, the oyster reduces the damage this irritant cause to its sensitive layers inside the shell.

Look at this: can you see the nacre?

So the nacre will be wrapped around the "intruder" layer after layer. The size of the pearl thus depends on how much layering of the nacre on the irritant and for how long. The longer it is, the bigger the size of the pearl.

You can get a pearl that ranges from 9-12mm in size with a few years of manufacturing. It is normal to find a huge number of rice-sized pearls inside an oyster in a span of 2 years. You can imagine how "disturbed" an oyster must be, even when it is taking residence in the deep ocean.

With human intervention, pearls are dyed to have more vibrant and captivating colours, which gives them a higher commercial value.

Natural pearl comes in shades of white and mauve, even pink, unlike the one you see above and the variety of colours that are found behind the glass panels of jewelry boutiques where shining black, sexy turquoise and mysterious olive green pearls are calling out to you to buy them.

Did you also know that pearl is the birthstone for the month of June? Are you a June baby? Do you always feel an affinity with pearls but just couldn't seem to understand why?

Maybe that's one way the universe is reaching out to you, giving you clues to your heritage... have you caught them yet?

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