What Gives A Pearl Its Color?

What Gives A Pearl Its Color?

Because we are focused on color as an important part of our expression, I thought it would be interesting to discuss how pearls acquire their natural color. Many times a pearl's color is influenced by the color of the lip of the oyster. The lip is the outer rim of the inside of the oyster shell, as pictured above. The black lipped oyster produces the silver grey to black Tahitian pearls, while the gold lipped oyster yields the beautiful Golden South Sea pearls. There are other factors that contribute to the colors and overtones of pearls and one of the most significant is the conchiolin, which "glues" the layers of the aragonite crystalline together. Aragonite platelets are very thin and semi transparent. The act like prisms when light penetrates the surface of the pearls and is reflected back through the layers. The layers of aragonite and conchiolin make up the nacre of the pearl and the thicker the nacre, the more color will be sent back your way. There are no right colors for pearls. As with art, you love what you love.


Judi McCormick

Hi Judi,
I have a sweet pair of pearl drops from you, bought during the pandemic when I was feeling low. Every time I put them on they make me happy. I remember what a lift a “little thing like that” made me happy during that dark and frightening time!
I love your info on pearls. They are amazing when you think about it!
Thank you,
Gail Dacey, Dorset, VT

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