Mother of pearl and ownership of one or several pearl farms has found a lucrative market in the public. Pearls are usually used in creating necklaces, rings, bracelets and even in the creation of various sets of jewelry. It has become a status symbol not just to the rich but also to people from all walks of life so much that the market for fake reproductions of the mother of pearl has found its own patronage. With its increasing popularity, it is bound to create questions to interested investors such that a lot of people have become intrigued on how it is made or created by nature.
How it is formed
Mother of pearl is also known as nacre. It is a composite of both organic and inorganic chemicals created by nature. The chemical make-up of this composite is hexagonal platelets of aragonite. The dimension of this platelet is 10-20 micrometers with a thickness of 0.5 micrometer. In between the layers of these platelets is a thin organic matrix made up of elastic biopolymers. This unique combination makes the mother of pearls resilient and strong. When this combination is multiplied, meaning the dimensions of the composite grows bigger, the toughness increases as well.
Mother of pearls are created by the mollusc species from their epithelial cells from the mantle tissue. Over time, the molluscs continually deposit layers on the inner surface of the shell. This action presents two purposes. One, as defense against parasites which could damage the detritus and two, it smoothens the shell of the mollusc itself.
The process of encystation occurs when the molluscs get invaded by a parasitic organism or in cases when they are invaded by a foreign object which the mollusc cannot spew out. What happens is that the parasite or foreign object gets enclosed in the layers of the mother of pearl that the mollusc continually deposits. This continuous process of depositing several layers eventually creates the pearls that are marketed by jewelers to the public. Until the mother of pearl is taken from the mollusc, the pearl continues to grow bigger.
The inner layer is unique because of its iridescence. A characteristic that jewelers and the public alike find very attractive. The same characteristic is primarily due to the thickness of the platelets comparable in size to the visible light’s wavelength, which translates to about 0.5 micrometers. This produces a play of light due to the different wavelengths which occurs when light is allowed to pass through it from different angles.
Major sources of mother of pearl finds come from the freshwater mussels. This species normally live in the waters of Asia, Europe and the United States. The same mother of pearls can also be seen in pearl oysters of warm tropical waters as well as the abalone of the