Where Do Pearls Come From?


Quick Answer

Pearls form when a grain of sand or small piece of debris enters an oyster shell. Humans can create cultured pearls by inserting an irritant into an oyster shell. In either instance, the oyster coats the debris with layers of nacre until a pearl forms.

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Full Answer

Nacre is a mineral substance that makes up the shell of certain mollusks, such as the oyster. It features a shiny and iridescent appearance with a strong surface. The approximate time for an oyster to produce a 9-millimeter pearl is six to 24 months. The time varies according to water conditions, salt content and temperature.

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