Pearls are the worlds oldest gems and considered as the one of the most precious materials created by nature. However natural pearls don’t occur that much anymore, and most of the pearls we know are cultivated by human.
A foreign body, an ‘irritant’, get’s implanted in the soft tissue of the mollusk followed by the mollusks reaction: defending itself to the irritant and covering the particle with mother of pearl (nacre).
In this speculative scenario a new type of foreign body enters the mollusks, a nanoparticle which is swimming through the ocean in huge amounts: microplastics.
The perfection of a pearl gets highly critisized, only the best make in to being part of a necklace.
The microplastic pearl has unique and random shapes, which make them function well as a single piece of jewelry.
In the some luxurious facial creams pearl nacre is added as an ingredient. Microplastics are everywhere, even as ‘microbeads’ in our beauty products like toothpaste and peelings.
If plastic waste can turn into beautiful materials, is it in the end not so bad that our trash ends up in the ocean?