I found a beautiful oyster shell while wading along the bay in Port Saint Joe on the Gulf Coast. Most I suppose would have not bothered, as oyster shells are everywhere in the area, creating parking lots and tossed into piles or back into the sea. At some point after this one was alive, it was very likely served on an icy tray to someone fond of fresh seafood. How long ago could this have been? Judging from the smoothness, I imagined it had been tumbling among the other shells at the sea shore, through storms and sunny skies, long enough to erode its own sharpness away. Examining it, I could see layers, ridges, pitting, coloring, and pearlescent whites.
Although this one is a common oyster of the food variety, it’s fascinating to understand that the long gone succulent oyster inside created its own environment by filtering saltwater and secreting calcium carbonate and other trace minerals. Only rarely does an oyster of this kind create a pearl by surrounding an irritant with layer upon comforting layer with a smooth coating called ‘nacre’.
This oyster shell is beautiful to me because of its curvy shape and texture, the layers, lines, and pits, as well as the colors within. I see purple and gold, and I’ve used the Prisma app filter to more obviously show all of these characteristics. I’d still like to be the lucky one to find a fresh oyster with a pearl inside!