Pearls: Ornaments From Accidents of Nature

drelayaraja By drelayaraja, 9th Jul 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Science

About the pearls. What they are and how they are formed. Their use in jewelery.


A pearl is a hard and generally spherical object made up of calcium carbonate deposits that are collected within the soft tissues of living shelled mollusk. The shells of these mollusks are also made up of calcium carbonate. Pearls come from both freshwater and marine waters.

An ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth. The good quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries. This is the reason the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very uncommon, very fine, very admirable and very valuable.

How is a pearl produced: Is it by accident?

Almost any shelled mollusk can, by natural processes, produce some kind of "pearl" when an irritating microscopic object becomes trapped within the mollusc's mantle folds, but the great majority of these "pearls" are not valued as gemstones.

Nacreous pearls, the best-known and most commercially-significant pearls, are primarily produced by two groups of molluskan bivalves or clams. A nacreous pearl is made from layers of nacre, by the same living process as is used in the secretion of the mother of pearl which lines the shell.

Pearl quality and Jewelery

The occurrence of valuable pearls in the wild is very rare. Cultured or farmed pearls make up the majority of those that are currently sold. Pearls from the sea are valued more highly than freshwater pearls.

Imitation or fake pearls are also widely sold in inexpensive jewelery. The quality of the iridescence of such pearl is usually very poor and artificial pearls are easily distinguished from genuine pearls. Pearls have been harvested and cultivated primarily for use in jewelery, but in the past they were also stitched onto lavish clothing. Pearls have also been crushed and used in cosmetics, medicines, or in paint formulations.

The value of the pearls in jewellery is determined by a combination of parameters like the luster, color, size, lack of surface flaw and symmetry. According to jewellers, the most important differentiator is the luster.

This may be a reason for naming my son as ‘Nithyll', meaning ‘brilliant like pearl' in Tamil.

© 2010 Dr.P.Elayaraja


Calcium Carbonate, Drelayaraja, Elayaraja, Gemstone, Jewel, Lusture, Mollusc, Nithyll, Oyster, Pearl

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author avatar drelayaraja
I am an Instructional designer engaged in e-learning content development. I have a passion for photography and poetry.

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author avatar scheng1
10th Jul 2010 (#)

Great article.

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author avatar leylucs
10th Jul 2010 (#)

great share of information!

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author avatar donnamarie
12th Jul 2010 (#)

Interesting article. Well done.

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author avatar Retired
13th Jul 2010 (#)

nice share keep writing!

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author avatar Shafi Choudhury
15th Jul 2010 (#)


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author avatar Jenny Heart
17th Jul 2010 (#)

Very interesting!

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author avatar Retired
17th Jul 2010 (#)

Nice article, I love pearls;)

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author avatar Godwill
21st Jul 2010 (#)

Nice article.

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author avatar Anuradha
24th Jul 2010 (#)

Excellent article about pearts. Very interesting.

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author avatar vpaulose
26th Jul 2010 (#)

Nice work Elayaraja. Please tell me how to paste pictures in articles. Thanks

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author avatar Rachel1919
27th Jul 2010 (#)

Wonderful article

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author avatar wonder
2nd Aug 2010 (#)

This gives a good knowledge about pearls.Very tempting too.

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author avatar CC23
5th Oct 2010 (#)

beautiful. =)

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author avatar muthusamy
27th Feb 2011 (#)

The pearl is the oldest known gem, and for many centuries it was considered the
most valuable. You given an excellent introduction to Pearl. Thank you

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