If you know anything about clams, then you probably know how hard it can be to open one up. And most of the time, you won’t really find anything worthwhile. Although clams can produce pearls, they only do so very rarely. But a lucky woman who recently opened a massive clam received the surprise of a lifetime when she found several pearls sitting inside it.
For those of you who don’t know, most pearls are actually created by oysters in either freshwater or saltwater environments.
The woman was shocked to find several pearls in the clam she opened up, resulting in a pretty hefty payday.
Although clams do produce pearls, they are not to be confused with the pearls oysters make.
Oysters and clams are similar but very different. Both are considered bivalve mollusks. Both produce pearls, but the pearls an oyster and a clam produce are very different.
Oysters produce nacreous pearls, which are the pearls most people are familiar with. Nacreous pearls are also the pearls associated with prized jewelry.
Clams create porcelaneous pearls (pearls with a porcelain-like surface). Both are created similarly but are quite different in texture.
This is why the woman who unearthed the pearls from the clam she caught was so shocked.
It is still unknown how much of a payout she received for finding the pearls, although we can imagine it must have been a lot.
As oysters begin to grow, an internal organ uses the minerals from the food the oyster eats to produce a substance called nacre, which is what forms the oyster’s shell.
Sometimes foreign substances like sand and other things can find their way into the shell of an oyster, irritating the mantle (the oyster’s internal organs). The oyster’s natural reaction is to cover the irritant up to protect itself. It does so by covering whatever the irritant may be with layers and layers of nacre.
The nacre, which is the substance that is used to create the oyster’s shell, instead forms a pearl.
The process in which clams create pearls is very similar. The main difference is that when clams create pearls, they do not cover the irritant with nacreous layers.
Instead, the layers surrounding clam pearls are made up of conchiolin and calcite fibers. This is what makes oyster pearls much more valuable than clam pearls.
Most people tend to confuse oysters, clams mussels, and scallops. Although they are all very similar, they have some major differences. They each have the ability to produce pearls, but the types of pearls they are able to produce are extremely different.
Because clams do not produce nacre, the pearls that they produce are not actually classified as true pearls.
That is not to say, though, that clam pearls don’t have any value. Although not as rare and expensive as oyster pearls, clam pearls are still used in jewelry.
So although the woman who found the pearls may not have found the rarest form of pearls possible, there’s no doubting that she probably received some kind of cash for the pearls.
Or maybe she saved them and used them for her own jewelry, we don’t know, but good on her for the amazing find!