cultured pearl

noun
a pearl induced to form by placement of a grain of sand or another irritating object within the shell of a pearl oyster or mussel.
Also, culture pearl.


Origin:
1920–25

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
cultured pearl
 
n
a pearl induced to grow in the shell of an oyster or clam, by the insertion of a small object around which layers of nacre are deposited

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

cultured pearl

natural but cultivated pearl produced by a mollusk after the intentional introduction of a foreign object inside the creature's shell. The discovery that such pearls could be cultivated in freshwater mussels is said to have been made in 13th-century China, and the Chinese have been adept for hundreds of years at cultivating pearls by opening the mussel's shell and inserting into it small pellets of mud or tiny bosses of wood, bone, or metal and returning the mussel to its bed for about three years to await the maturation of a pearl formation. Cultured pearls of China have been almost exclusively blister pearls (hemispherical pearls formed between the mussel and its shell), which require addition of a half sphere of mother-of-pearl to create the assembled gem, called a pearl doublet.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The shape of the nucleus and its position in the mussel determines the shape of
  the cultured pearl.
After a period of time, the cultured pearl is removed from the oyster and used
  in jewelry production.
The lining of the pearl sac contains epithelial cells that deposit layers of
  nacre around the nucleus, forming a cultured pearl.
Today, the cultured pearl industry is a multimillion dollar business.
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