In tissue-nucleated freshwater pearl culturing, the creation of a pearl requires two mollusks, a donor and a host. A small piece of mantle tissue, taken from the donor mollusk, is inserted into the host mollusk. As well known in urban legend, the introduction of a foreign object stimulates the production of nacre, or pearl essence, from the host mollusk. The nacre is emited in platelets which bond over the surface of the object, forming a series of crystalline layers, as can be seen in the photo to the right.
Discovery of Pearl CulturingThe art of "culturing" a pearl was discovered in 1893 by a Japanese named Kokichi Mikimoto. He began selling his cultured pearls in 1899 in the world-famous shopping district of Ginza, Edo(modern-day Tokyo). Cultured pearls were an innovation which took many long years full of scientific challenges and cultural barriers to their acceptance as authentic. By the early 1900's, Mikimoto's long labor was eventually recognized for it's genius and his pearl cultuing techniques are now utilized all over the world(but mainly within Asia) to generate over 98% of the world's pearl supply.