February 2, 2015
The formation of a pearl
Pearls are one of nature’s most miraculous discoveries. They have been the subject of awe and mystery for centuries, with many fables on how they came to be. Today, there are still many people who do not know how these marvels are made, or where they come from.
To make clear the true mystery of pearls, I have done the research for you, so the next time you see a pearl you will be able to appreciate the beauty and natural phenomenon yourself.
To start our journey, we must travel to the depths of the ocean, where lingering lazily underwater oysters or molluscs feed on passing plankton. Occasionally, while they feed a small grain of sand or parasite will lodge itself in the soft inner body of the oyster, causing it great discomfort. Unable to dispel the intruder, the oyster begins to secrete a smooth hard crystalline substance around the irritant - this substance is calcium carbonate based, commonly referred to as ‘nacre’ - as long as the intruder remains in the oysters body it will continue to produce nacre layer upon layer, until the intruder eventually becomes a perfectly round pearl.
Over time, man has found a way of cultivating pearls by placing irritants into the oysters to speed up the process. However, most freshwater pearls are created in bulk using a single freshwater mussel. These mussels are capable of producing up to 50 pearls at a time (although current production limits each shell to 24-32 pearls). These freshwater pearls come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colours; due to the ease of production these pearls are more readily available and cheaper than saltwater pearls from oysters.
At T H Baker we provide a wealth of pearls for you to choose, from uniquely shaped freshwater pearls, to perfectly round lustrous pearls, all cast in elegant designs using high quality metals such as silver, white gold, 14ct, 18ct and 24ct gold. We also have some exquisitely made pieces featuring sparkling diamonds.
Explore our collection of luscious pearls today and find the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one.