The Building Blocks of Pearls

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If you have ever heard me talk about pearls and how they are formed, you have probably heard me talk about bricks. Bricks, or the building blocks of pearls, is how I best describe the interlocking layers of pearls. The aragonite that makes pearls (and makes them shiny) are interlocking crystal layers cemented together like bricks. When the light is reflected through these bricks, we see the beautiful luster. Well, thanks for the wonders of a visit to a children’s museum, I present to you, the building blocks of pearls, ARAGONITE!


aragonite - the building block of pearls - aragonite crystals - the pearl girls

Aragonite is one of two common forms of calcium carbonate. The other one is calcite, which has a different crystal structure and typically results in pearls that aren’t as shiny! Aragonite forms naturally in coral, in ocean caves and in almost all mollusk shells. Of course the structure of aragonite can vary but this is a crystal cluster. Imagine that this structure is on a much smaller scale and is the building blocks of your pearls. When you look at your pearls, you are simply seeing the surface of tiny interlocking crystals of calcium carbonate!

Shiny aragonite - building blocks of pearls

Aragonite - the building blocks of pearls - the pearl girls - india rows

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