Pearls are made up of calcium carbonate in crystalline form produced by the living tissues of molluscs. The formation arises when a foreign body, such as a piece of shell, gets into the oyster cavity. At this moment a defence mechanism is being triggered.
In order for the animal's tissues to be defended from irritation caused by the foreign body, the latter is covered with layers of mother-of-pearl. Layers of calcium and other materials are also formed, a mix that then generates the precious pearls.
Man has tried to recreate this mechanism to make the pearls of the gems more accessible to the general public given the great rarity of witnessing this phenomenon in nature. Only at the end of the nineteenth century, the Japanese perfected the technique for the production of cultured pearls in natural environments, by grafting a fragment of epithelial mantle together with a nucleus. Over time, the oyster covers the graft with layers of mother of pearl, thus giving life to the pearl.
Mother-of-pearl or "nacre" is the most important part of the pearl, in fact the thickness of the mother-of-pearl layer is an essential element in determining the quality of a pearl.
The thickness of the mother of pearl affects the cost and longevity of the product.