Great Mother of Pearls

Many of us recognise pearls as highly-priced gemstones known for their luster that can be found inside pearl oysters. These beautiful spherical jewels are actually the result of the pearl oysters’, and other molluscs’, cure for an “itch”.

A Pearl from a pearl oyster (Pinctada margaritifera).

What molluscs like the pearl oysters, nautiluses, and abalones are doing to produce pearls is actually to secrete an iridescent organic-inorganic composite material called nacre or more commonly, mother of pearl, as layers around a microscopic foreign material like a grain of sand or parasites that are irritants to the animal living in the shell. Nacre is also produced by these molluscs to increase the strength of their shells. (Try driving over an abalone shell, it may be difficult to crush it.)

The nacreous underside of an abalone shell.

Some pearl blisters from a pen shell found in the Datai Bay.

However, not all molluscs use mother of pearl to protect themselves. The majority of molluscs, like the Quahog clam (Mercenaria mercenaria), do not produce the mother of pearl to strengthen their shells, but actually a non-iridescent, porcellaneous layer. This will then result in a non-lustrous pearl in these molluscs, which look different but could be rarer than the gemstone pearls we are more familiar with!

Quahog clam pearls. Picture credit.

 

Tags: nature

COVID-19 'CONDITIONAL MOVEMENT CONTROL ORDER' IN MALAYSIA

Since 18 Mar 2020, Malaysia has been under the Conditional Movement Control Order which has since been extended until 9 June 2020. Initiated to curb the spread of COVID-19, specific businesses and gatherings in the country will be suspended until further notice. In light of this new ruling, we regretfully inform you that we will not be able to honour or accept any reservations until 12 June 2020. We thank you for your patience and understanding during these trying times and will keep you updated of changes as they unfold. Please also note that once we are able to reopen, some of our activities and outlets may be closed or be limited due to new health and safety regulations. For any enquiries, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at reservations@dataihotels.com. Thank you and stay safe.

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