Can pearls die? At first, this might seem like a silly question. The mussels, oysters and other mollusks that produce pearls are certainly alive but pearls are not. So how can they die?
Maybe instead of asking “can pearls die?” we should ask, “are pearls dead?” There is a phenomena known as dead pearls. This happens when a mollusk gets a deposit of minerals (or just plain muck) in their shell and it affects the growth of the shell. Maybe it simply discolors the shell or maybe it actually affects the structure growth of the shell. Either way, the minerals have an impact on the shell and that impact can also affect the pearl inside.
I know this looks blurry but what you are looking at is a pearl that is white on the top and brownish yellow on the bottom. If this pearl is dead, the result would be from the mineral deposit and not from any special coloring in the mussel. Once again, we go to our favorite American pearl diver to teach us more about dead pearls: