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The Pearl Girls create all of our jewelry and designs at our shop in Athens, GA. We also have a huge reknot and repair department. People all over the world ship us their pearls and beaded jewelry to reknot, repair or create into a new design. Along with our passion for pearls, we are passionate about creating jobs right here in our home base in Athens, GA. We provide many perks to our staff including childcare for our hardworking mothers! Thank you for supporting us so we can continue supporting others. And thanks for sharing in our passion!

They Are Not Oysters

Thu, May 26, 2016 | Pearl Blog

Pteria, Mollusk, Oyster, Pinctada… what am I talking about? The beautiful pearl making species... they are not oysters, per se, so what are they?!

I just wrote a post where I used all of these words referring to one species of mollusk and I fear that you have NO IDEA what I am talking about! I can’t blame you! So I am going to talk through why I use all these completely unrelated terms.

First, an oyster.

They Are Not Oysters - well, these are oysters - the pearl girls

We all know what those are, right? Many have been gobbled up while standing around a piece of plyboard, elevated by sawhorses, while enjoying the musky thick heat of the South Carolina coast. Yum! (actually, truth be told.. I am not a huge fan of eating oysters even though I enjoyed quite a few oyster roasts with my friends in Beaufort!).

But, you know what I am talking about, we all know oysters.

 

If we take it on back to our species classification in school that starts with animals…the classification moves from Animalia (Kingdom) to Mollusca (Phylum). I love using the word mollusk (mollusca, mollusc) because it casts a wide net. Mollusks include all bivalve species but other species as well including sea snails (which can occasionally form a pearl) and octopus (no pearls there!). But, I do feel very all-inclusive when I say mollusk because both saltwater and freshwater species are in the phylum mollusk.  Let's look at our Tennessee River mollusks that form our natural Tennessee River pearls:they are not oysters-Freshwater-mussels-the pearl girls

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Subclass: Palaeoheterodonta
Order: Unionoida

The most common families are the Margaritiferidae and the Unionidae.

So, we have these mollusks. And we have these oysters. Why are they called oyster? Well, it is a variation on the order Ostreoida.

they are not oysters - this is a pacific oyster - the pearl girls

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Subclass: Pteriomorphia
Order: Ostreoida
Superfamily: Ostreoidea
Family: Ostreidae

These oysters do not create our beautiful gem quality pearls. These are the oysters we eat! So, why do I refer to our pearl making gems as oysters. Well, it is easy to relate to! If you hear me say oyster you get a sense of what I am talking about, right?

But, let's get technical. What are the pearl bearing mollusks that we are breeding and harvesting pearls from. These are the Pinctada!

mazatlantica shell - pearls in mexico - the pearl girls

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Order: Pterioida
Family: Pteriidae
Genus: Pinctada
These species are P. mazatlanica, P. margaritifera, P. imbricata, P. maxima, etc.

In the Sea of Cortez we have the lovely Pteria genus creating the lovely Cortez pearls.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Mollusca

Class: Bivalvia
Order: Pterioida
Family: Pteriidae
Genus: Pteria
Species: P. sterna

a view at mexican pearls -mexican pearl farm- the pearl girls

 

 

 

 

So, they are not oysters although I might continuing calling them oysters, or mollusks, or bivalves ... but now you know what they truly are! Enjoy!

India

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