Australia’s South Sea Pearl Oyster produces the most valuable pearls on Earth.
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Formation of a Pearl | Secret Life of Pearls
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few places on earth remain as untouched as Australia's Northwest this coastline is one of the last pristine places remaining on our planet between Broome and Darwin the coast is as wild today as it was when Europeans settled the continent over 200 years ago thousands of miles of uninhabited wilderness where the ocean teams with life some we know and others whose secrets are hidden in the deep like this creature Australia's South Sea pearl oyster also known as the silver lipped oyster although it's not much to look at on the outside on the inside it has the ability to produce one of the most valuable gems known to mankind any mollusk that produces a shell can produce a pearl that includes abalone marine snails clams mussels and oysters the South Sea pearl oyster that lives here produces the cream of the crop it's a solitary creature that can grow to around one foot living for up to forty years as a result the pearls it creates are the largest most lustrous along in recent years a single Australian South Sea pearl was sold for over 1.5 million dollars the notion that a pearl always forms when a grain of sand enters the creature is a myth another possibility is that some tiny organism invades the creature and disrupts the cells in the mantle then something miraculous happens the oyster begins to secrete a smooth crystalline substance known as nacre nacre or mother of pearl is made of the same material that forms the inside of the shell this combination of calcium carbonate and protein is both lighter and stronger than concrete it takes several years for thousands of layers of nacre to build up and create a smooth iridescent gem but it's a rare event a pearl of value is found in less than 1 in 10,000 wild pearl oysters