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Thread: A Grain of Sand? No Way!

  1. #1
    Kenji Guest

    Default A Grain of Sand? No Way!

    A natural pearl created by a grain of sand is such a common misconception that I feel this is an adequate post.
    I see so much literature about pearls, and so often I see people describing natural pearls as an occurrence initiated by a grain of sand. This is just not true!
    There is absolutely no documentation of someone finding a grain of sand in the center of a natural pearl. Sand will not dissolve nor dissipate. If the sand induced an oyster to create the pearl it would stand to reason that the pearl would still contain the sand after it had been harvested.
    Also, I love to eat oysters, and as I am sure all of your know they very often have sand in them if not thoroughly cleaned. If sand induced pearls would not many, many more oysters naturally have a pearl inside, instead of 1 in 10,000 of a pearl producing variety?
    Pearls are almost certainly induced by a parasite or other organic matter that has made its way into the oyster.
    I just had to get this off my chest!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Manhattan Beach, CA


    You are absolutely right Kenji! It is amazing how many people still believe that. I cringe every time I see it on a Website or in a publication. But we have to remember that old wives tales take a very long time to disappear. Did you know that it was once believed pearls were created by teardrops from heaven? Not many people claim this theory any more

  3. #3
    Kenji Guest


    It is really nice to hear that there are other people out there who know the real story!

  4. #4
    dmclaren Guest

    Default We've known this since at least the 18th Century!

    It is quite unbelievable that people do believe the "grain of sand theory". How could this ever happen. My only guess is that ignorance breeds ignorance and that most people take things for granted. Kind of what happens with the "Stork bringing Babies from Paris" theory...sure, it is easier to state that babies come from Paris on Stork-Delivery than explaining Sex, but it is a LIE.

    I think I read about a French-man (18th Century text, his last name was Seraut) explaining how he cut many pearls in half and examined the inner structure. He found several things: organic matter mostly, some Polychaetta worm needles, mud, a small bivalve (Lithophaga), but never sand.

    My only guess is that many people explained the grain o'sand thing in order to avoid explaining something they just could not grasp. Unfourtunately, the wise end up in hidden-up-(obscure) books only valuable to a select few... while "gossip" (misinformation) spreads like fire on dried up brush.

    Just my toughts.

  5. #5
    Satine De La Courcel Guest


    Unfortunately, Its a very popualr Myth!

    For Instance for someof the Basic Semi Precious Necklaces I Create. I go through a wonderful Beading Company... company Fire Mountain Gems.. This is the link to the artiocle on pearls on their site.

    I just do not think that they do not know any better...

    Here is the Quote from the article

    "NATURAL pearls are formed when an irritant, such as a grain of sand, finds its way into an oyster (or mussel) without any human intervention. When you come across these mollusks in the "wild" you will seldom or rarely find a pearl of commercial value inside their shell."

    I think this too eventually will pass with the recent growing interest ad popularity of pearls.. At least I hope so!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Manhattan Beach, CA


    It is everywhere on the Internet. There is even a pearl Website called 'A Grain of Sand'.
    That article that you linked to was especially interesting with the description of the pearl farm. Modified syringe?!
    But I think that is what is so great about and the forums. There finally is real information on the www.

  7. #7
    hereTic Guest

    Smile RE: A Grain of Sand

    Interesting about the sand. I never knew. YOu have me convinced that it is not the sand, but you don't have me convinced about what it really is. Your arguments against the sand theory are just as valid against the parasite theory....

    Perhaps it is not about exactly what foreign substance is entering the oyster, but about what that oyster does with the foreign substance. Perhaps there is something special about those particular oysters.

    I am sure oyster farmers have this figured out to a science. Now I am very curious to investigate more....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Houston, TX


    The sand theory is actually just a myth. Someone came up with this sand theory and the myth caught on much like other myths do. However, it has been proven that parasites that borough into the oysters are typically the culprits for natural pearl production. Pearl farmers currently use bead nuclei as the irritants for their cultured pearls which are produced today. Currently, research is being done involving oysters and parasites for the production of natural pearls.
    Amanda Raab
    Founder & CEO
    Call: 1-800-762-0977

  9. #9
    The Pearl Outlet Guest


    Just for clarification, pearl farmers us a combination of a bead nuclei and a piece of donor mantel tissue for saltwater pearls. For freshwater pearls, it is almost always only donor tissue, though some freshwater farms are experimenting with bead nuclei as well.

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