Fun Facts: Pearls

Nautilus Pearls img via

TIL that almost all shells have the capacity to produce a pearl, but that only the pearls from Pinctada oysters have the look that makes fine jewelry. Pinna shells can make black pearls and the pink conch can produce pink ones. I had assumed all pearls were from oysters. It is the “mother” look, the look from the inside of the shell from which it is from, that gives it the luster, or lack thereof.

Conch and Conch Pearls photo via This site has some great info on conch pearls.

When I was a girl an aunt gave me a “wishing pearl” necklace for Christmas one year.  You  made a wish as you open up a can with a real oyster in it and you take out the pearl. You didn’t know what color pearl you would get and the different colors meant different things. I got a lavender pearl (for love) and wore it in a little silver clasp around my neck. I looked them up and they are still around.

Wish Pearl Necklace Set img via

“Pinna Shells” hand-colored print by: Merian Johnston, 1718 

I also learned that in Dickens time pearls were considered poor-man’s food because they didn’t need to be cooked and used up no fuel. That hadn’t occurred to me.. of course they were. Then they were depleted and revived and are now the opposite is true..

“Pen Shell with Pearls” Photo: E. Skalwold. Shell: Courtsey of K.C. Bell img via This site has a lot of beautiful photos and info on gemology and natural pearls..


About Beauty and Dreams

I'm just a lady in Portland, OR. Check out my blog! Drawings, collage and more!
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One Response to Fun Facts: Pearls

  1. orples says:

    I always thought pearls only came from oysters too … something new learned today. Thanks for the knowledge! 😉

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