The Making of All Pearls

Charlene Norman
3 min readJan 29, 2024
Photo by Anastasiia Rozumna on Unsplash

Did you know it is a popular myth that pearls are made from a grain of sand?

To be super clear, it’s a lie! Intriguing folklore, complete without merit. Nearly all high-quality pearls come from oysters, and oysters are incredibly adept at secreting the sand that regularly gets into their shells.

On the other hand, the notion that it takes a foreign particulate, irritant, or even organism to trigger an oyster to form a pearl is true. Oysters (a type of mollusk) have two shells. Each shell features a protective layer that covers the mollusk’s organs. This protective layer, the mantle, safeguards vital organs that keep the mollusk alive.

When any irritant makes its way between the mollusk’s shell and mantle, the creature produces nacre, a protective coating that helps reduce irritation. Nacre is also called mother-of-pearl; it’s made of microscopic crystals of calcium carbonate and lines the interior of a mollusk’s shell.

Layers of nacre coat the irritant, eventually forming an iridescent gem. (We call that gem a Pearl).

Did you know that making one pearl can take six months and even up to four years? The longer the time frame, the more expensive the product. Obviously.

Pearl farmers must have immense patience to wait for a pearl inside an oyster shell to develop. When a pearl in an oyster is ready, the harvester opens the shell, extracts it, and evaluates it for quality. Some oysters can produce two to three pearls over their lifetime, but only an oyster with pearls of good quality will repeat the process of creating a pearl.

Why am I going on about pearls?

Because humans are like pearls. In fact, I believe humans ARE pearls.

Something transformative is happening within all of us. Every day, week, month and year. All that friction, irritation, and resentment, the growing pains, identifying with wounds. We all go through it. And then the releasing of some or all that gunk. That is our way of layering on the nacre coats.

You’ve been through rough seas for sure. Today, you are the precious Pearl. It’s all the wisdom you hold in your hands, heart and psyche. You are forever changed. You cannot alter your Pearl back to the Grit, nor would you want to.

Yes, you might get triggered here and there by the ghosts of the past, but nothing compared to the arduous journey of learning you have been on.

If you take the time, you will notice how quickly you can turn things around, how quiet you can become in the middle of a storm, how adept you’ve learned when to speak up or step away, and how mature you are now. Today.

And that is the real point of this message.

Take a breath, look back and see how far you’ve come! Today.

I guarantee it’s been a long journey — regardless of your age.

You are stronger than you think, shinier than you know, and loved more than you can imagine. Revel in THAT today.

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Charlene Norman

Inspiring good humans to make a difference for all on Planet Earth. Podcast host, author, and community leader. Fanatical about change for the highest good.