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A sample of the man-made mother of pearl (top), compared to the real thing (Image: Nature)...

Mother of pearl, also known as nacre, is the hard iridescent coating found on the outside of pearls, and the inside of certain mollusc’s shells. Besides being a nice-looking material used for jewelry and other types of ornamentation, it’s also remarkably strong. Now, scientists from the University of Cambridge have discovered how to make the stuff themselves.  Read More

The Palawalan Princess is bigger than a baseball

The second largest pearl ever found is set to go under the auctioneer's hammer next week, and may fetch as much as US$400,000. Weighing 2.25 kg (5 lb), the pearl measures six inches in diameter and bears an uncanny resemblance to a human brain. The auction lot of the massive pearl will include the lower half of the giant clam (Tridacna Gigas) in which it formed in the coastal waters of the Philippines.  Read More

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