The fish that’s also a pearl | Natural History Museum


We have millions of bivalve mollusc
specimens in our collection. In some of them we can see the pearls being formed inside the shell. Perhaps the most interesting and
precious to us is this one, donated to the Museum in 1886. What we have here is an oyster shell with a pearlfish trapped inside. Pearlfish
are known to hide inside clams and oysters for protection. This one got stuck inside the oyster and died. Over time the oyster covers the
fish in layers of mother-of-pearl, this process probably took around five years to happen. This is not a traditional shape for a pearl, but it’s certainly precious to us.

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