Perfect, Pretty, Pleasant Pearls

By: Nick Strother

Pearls Are...

Pearls are different colors depending on the angle you look at it. This is called iridescence. It has a very high luster.
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Oysters? Yes, I said oysters

Pearls are formed when a small object gets into an oyster's shell. Then, gritty layers of nacre cover the object. Nacre is a combination of six-sided crystals and a protein holding them together. Finally, the pearl is forced out of the oyster's shell.
Video on how pearls are formed Naturally

Shape, Structure, and the Surrounding Substance

Pearls can be sphere, oval, semiround, flat, or baroque(teardrop shaped). They are made of a small object(ex. sand) and nacre. it is surrounded by oysters and water when found

Where it's Found, Its Hardness, Where the Name's from and What Does it Mean?

It is found in the ocean. A pearl's hardness can be anywhere from 2.5-4.5. The name comes from the French word perle, which comes from the Latin word perna. Perna is a leg or sea mussel.

Cultured and Natural Pearls

There are two types of pearls-cultured and natural. Cultured pearls are made when a person forces a small object into an oyster's shell, knowing that the oyster will produce a pearl. This kind of pearl is much cheaper than natural pearls. Natural pearls are made accidentally. When an oyster is feeding, sometimes a grain of sand gets on its food. That disturbs the oyster, causing nacre to cover the sand, creating a pearl. This makes it more expensive than cultured pearls.

Cool and interesting facts

The largest pearl in the world weighs 14 pounds, and is the size of a large loaf of bread! Pearls are the only birthstone created by living things.





•National Geographic Kids