Posted in biology, chemistry, design and architecture

The protein that makes pearls so pretty


The iridescent beauty of pearl and nacre, the material found inside the shells of clams, oysters and other mollusks, would likely be impossible without two new proteins recently discovered by Japanese scientists.

The discovery could allow for the production of larger pearls in less time.

Pearl and nacre, also known as mother of pearl, have been used as decorations for millennia. In recent years, scientists have discovered the physical structure responsible for their valuable iridescence, the minerals that make up those structures, and the proteins that hold those minerals together.

Read on for more.

iStock photo
iStock photo


Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.