Where Do Pearls Come From?

American Pearls
Beak of Washboard - where do pearls come from

Where do pearls come from? We know pearls come from mollusks, either freshwater mussels, saltwater oysters or more. But pearls are formed in different areas INSIDE these mollusks.

We asked James Peach to explain these different parts of the mollusk to us and show us where natural American freshwater pearls are formed. The pretty round pearls form in the beak of the mussel. A beak is the raised portion of the back side of the shell. The beak is also called the umbo. The beak is the oldest portion of a mussel shell, formed when the animal was very young. It is a deep area and, again, pretty round pearls are formed here.

Beak of Washboard - where do pearls come from

 

The hinge is responsible for producing feather pearls (also called spikes). These pearls resemble sharks teeth in shape although they are much prettier. Their shape is formed in the narrow channel of the hinge. And nugget pearls, the beautiful baroque shaped pearls, come from the pseudo cardinal teeth area to the side of the shell.

where do pearls come from feathers and nuggets

 

Click on this video to learn more:

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