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Are Pearls Vegan?

by Fabian Jackson

2min read

Been wondering whether your string of pearls is appropriate now you’re vegan? Keep reading to discover all.

Pearls 

Pearls are formed inside of saltwater and freshwater molluscs, traditionally when a foreign body, or parasite, enters their shell (not the grain of sand as the parables would have you believe). In oysters, this triggers a defence mechanism where it releases fluid to coat the irritation. As layer after layer of ‘nacre’ builds up, the oyster is left containing a spherical pearl. 

lots of oysters

Are pearls vegan?

No, the majority of the world wouldn’t consider pearls to be vegan. As the wide mollusc family who are responsible for producing pearls, of which oysters are the most notable, are part of the animal kingdom, their pearls too aren’t strictly suitable for anyone on a plant-based diet. 

However, there is a portion of the plant-based community who do consider oysters to be vegan. Read all about it here.

string of pearls

Are mock pearls vegan?  

As true pearls can be very expensive and hard to come by, there’s a large market for synthetic pearls. These are usually made of glass and coated in a solution to give the shimmering, iridescent effect of pearls. 

Unfortunately, these usually aren’t suitable for anyone on a plant-powered diet either, as the solution is most often made from fish scales. 

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Fabian Jackson
by Fabian Jackson

Fabian is one of our lovely Content Marketing Interns who loves writing almost as much as he loves coffee, old episodes of Escape to the Country (no judgement here), and cooking up a storm in his kitchen.

Read more from Fabian


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