Pearls were largely an accident of nature until the late 19th century, when entrepreneur Kokichi Mikimoto invented a method of cultivating them by introducing a foreign body into the shells of oysters.

A shell protects a mollusk’s organs from predators. The first of three separate components of a mollusk’s shell is an inner layer of nacre (mother-of-pearl), which is composed of a continuously secreting calcium carbonate that is used to smother foreign objects. This sustained reaction ultimately produces pearls.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.