Far south-west of the main continent exists an island in a shape of crescent moon with dense jungles and slender mountain peaks and a single city named Kalt stands in a place where the islands' central lake opens to the sea. (large lagoon with a big river flowing into the sea) This city does not have any slaves, yet it is rich.

The inhabitants mine metals from the lake, where a big volcano once stood. And its beaches are full of pearls. The sand glitters with the iridescent dust from the shells and pearls ground by the sea waves.

Could there really be a beach like that?

Could the iridescent dust last for a long time or would it decompose?

If most of the pearls were collected by the inhabitants, would more wash up to the beach, if there are lots of clams living around the island?

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    $\begingroup$ Data point: One pearl occurs naturally among hundreds of oysters. Pearls are calcium carbonate (like the shell), and decompose similarly. Pearl Oysters live in groups (called reefs), but there are no recorded reefs of such magnitude to create a beach of washed-up pearls. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Mar 8 '18 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ @user535733 So it would not stay iridescent unless there were more pearls to replenish it? $\endgroup$ – Nuloen The Seeker Mar 8 '18 at 13:46

The answer depends on what kind of pearl it is.

The probability of finding a jewelry quality pearl in the wild is about 1 in 12,000. If these are the pearls you're talking about, there would need to be hundreds of thousands of pearl oysters near that beach for there to be even remotely enough to partly cover a large beach.

However, every bivalve has the potential to make a "pearl". It might not be the perfect white, round shape that you would expect, but it's a pearl nonetheless. If we were to take those kinds of pearls, it would be possible for a new species of bivalve to produce these pearls at a faster rate than the jewelry quality ones and then the iridescent dust might be possible.

  • $\begingroup$ And what about the iridescent layer in their shells, would that also help? Or is it just too small quantity compared to what oysters could produce over their lifetime? $\endgroup$ – Nuloen The Seeker Mar 8 '18 at 14:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Nuolen The Seeker There are some bivalves that make huge "pearls". Given a large enough quantity concentrated on one beach or part of a beach, it could produce the effect you describe. $\endgroup$ – Nikola Stojanovic Mar 8 '18 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ Can't tell if you're saying 1 in 12000 or 1 in 12. Shouldnt it be a "," instead of a "." $\endgroup$ – Crettig Mar 8 '18 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Crettig I live in Europe, where 12.000,50 is pronounced as twelve thousand comma fifty. I'll still edit it, though, for my Anglo Saxon friends. $\endgroup$ – Nikola Stojanovic Mar 8 '18 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ @NikolaStojanovic oh, I feel dumb now. +1 for educating me $\endgroup$ – Crettig Mar 8 '18 at 17:28

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