Related to my other question.

What would be best conditions for a natural super colony of pearl oysters and the best conditions for them to produce pearls naturally.

Shallow or deep waters?

Slowly decreasing, long shore or rocky waters?

Periodic currents around the island or continuous current? (To increase the chance of sand getting into the clams)

Warm water?

Coud it be combined with a coral reef?

Reefs forming circles around the island or a star / squid like layout?

I would also like if the conditions allowed the pearls to wash up to the beach.

You can have anything you want as long as it can create a paradise for the clams. The conditions don't have to be caused naturally. I have a lot of handwavium to make it happen.

(If it would be impossible to do with just one island consider if several islands could make enough glitter. And then I'll join it together with MAGIC or something)

  • $\begingroup$ @Renan People can say any condition as long as it helps solve the problem. And the islands' inhabitants could have pearl farms as well and they could consider the clams as symbols and help them, in some way, to make the clam population bigger. $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2018 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ I deleted my previous comment because I missed the part where the pearl factory should be natural. Sorry about that. $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2018 at 15:38
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    $\begingroup$ If you want pearly beaches, would fine rock/heavy sand made from the mother-of-perl from the inner shell of the mollusks work? Then you'd just need a heavy duty concentration of oysters/clams and a few millenia for them to be built up, broken down, etc. Look at the "sand" at some beaches like St Augustine Fl - lots of shell content. Just make it be the inner sides of the oysters/clams for the m-o-p .... $\endgroup$
    – ivanivan
    Mar 9, 2018 at 2:09

2 Answers 2


Since you want a natural pearly factory, we can ignore modern oyster farming techniques and just focus on creating an ideal area for these pearly mollusks:

Your natural pearl factory just needs to be filled with mildly-annoying parasites and predators. However, producing them in the quantities that you want may not be feasible.

Pearls are essentially the result of an oyster/muscle's immune system responding to parasites, broken bits of shell, or other irritants. The mollusk creates a tissue sac which secretes calcium carbonate and conciliation onto the irritant. This material is what pearls are made of, and pearls are formed as a result of the repeated secretions. The irritants seem to be mainly parasites that enter the mollusk, and bits of the mollusks' broken shell caused by predators or other injuries.

As for the water, any deep water seems to be fine. There are freshwater and saltwater mollusks which produce pearls, and historically pearl hunters commonly dove 40-100 feet to reach them.

In short, you just need a lake that's not very pleasant to drink or swim in due to a high amount of parasites, but otherwise does not require anything magical or unnatural. Do note that this will simply create a relatively high supply of pearls compared to other areas. Creating the iridescent pearl-filled beaches that you mention in your other question just isn't feasible, as that would require thousands to oysters to die and wash ashore every year just to give the beach a few dozen pearls.


Pearls form naturally at a rate significantly smaller than that of farms, so tweaking all those environmental factors will help, but not enough to get you to where you want to be. If you want something massive, you either need an insane number of oysters/mussels to begin with, or introduce an outside force, like an animal.

On the animal front: if you've done a little research, you'll find that pearls are kind of like a pustule or cyst for the bivalve. Once the waterproof 'lips' of the bivalve are violated, it excretes mother-of-pearl to repair the damage. Cultured pearls are made from a little bit of shell and a little bit of mantle from a different bivalve deposited inside the host, for the same reasons we use titanium in human bodies: the body won't reject it, but it won't absorb it either. So you could imagine some sort of bee-like creature that gets something from violating the bivalve but not killing it, and then accidentally cross-pollinating genetic material from the last oyster he violated into the wound. This would make for a much, much higher percentage of pearl-hosting oysters.

The problems to solve would then be:

  1. What does the 'bee' get from getting into an oyster but not eating it?
  2. What evolutionary advantage would a pearl-laden oyster have over a non-pearl-laden one?
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    $\begingroup$ a Tiny critter that uses oysters as protection and perhaps symbiotically cleans them/dissuades oyster predators. Usually the move from one host to the next without much fuss, but often they die inside an oyster and become a pearl nucleus? $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Mar 8, 2018 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ That has potential, certainly. I almost picture a hermit crab now. As the creature gets bigger, it leaves behind the last oyster to search for something bigger to better fit. $\endgroup$
    – Carduus
    Mar 8, 2018 at 16:05
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    $\begingroup$ Oyster Ants: aquatic ants that trap oxygen bubbles from the surface inside the shells of host oysters. The oysters benfit from increased protection, food and cleaning services, the ants have a place to live and die, and if the ants are suitably surgical it even allows for natural removal of pearls from still-living oysters. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Bloggs
    Mar 8, 2018 at 16:09

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