The Worm Debate

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 1.22.44 PM My student is molding a piece I made inspired by the creation of a pearl “A pearl started by a grain of sand that irritates and oyster…” not true!  Mollusks are the ‘lungs of the water’ and filter gallons of water a day.  A grain of sand doesn’t bother them in the least.  So how does one oyster start a pearl and other doesn’t?  To be clear, we are talking of natural pearls and not cultured in which a bead is inserted into a mollusk and then put back in the water to cover the sphere with layers of nacre.  Before this technology, pearl fishers/divers had to search for the pearl in the oyster.  It may have been caused by a parasite, a worm that got to the oyster through a crack in the shell.  Possibly damage to the exterior causes a piece to break on the inside that would be turned around inside the shell to form a pearl.  I love the idea that there are dead worms in pearls ‘worm sarcophagi’ if you will.  I made this piece of silver and pearl but made the worm the necklace instead.  It is titled “Distomum Duplicatum” after the worm! Kathy Crop


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