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Masayuki Kato, Wikimedia Commons
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A Look Inside Shows How Pearls Form in Oysters

Oysters continuously rotate a single, lustrous orb for at least a year before the pearl becomes jewelry.

Published On 07/14/2015
7:00 PM EDT
The oyster Pinctada maxima with two black pearls | Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Electron microscopy image shows the fractured surface of nacre. | Fabian Heinemann, Wikimedia Commons
Pictured: A) This pearl shows smears of organic matter. B) Bumps appear on the surface of a pearl. C) A pearl with multiple grooves; the arrows point to organic matter within the grooves. | Yannick Gueguen et al, Royal Society Open Science
D) A close-up of bumps (marked by red arrows) on the pearl's surface that have led to grooves (shown by green arrows). E) A close-up of the surface of a pearl shows bumps and grooves. | Yannick Gueguen et al, Royal Society Open Science
F) A close-up of the top portion of a pearl with axial symmetry. G) Close-up of a pearl with near-perfect symmetry. | Yannick Gueguen et al, Royal Society Open Science
A pearl is removed from an Akoya pearl oyster. | Keith Pomakis, Wikimedia Commons
Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute