General Question

Noel_S_Leitmotiv's avatar

Are pearls vegan?

Asked by Noel_S_Leitmotiv (2714 points ) July 21st, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

49 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

It’s my understanding that pearls are on the list of things to avoid, along with: leather, wool, fur, feathers, ivory, bone and any animal derived product.

eponymoushipster's avatar

not sure. try chomping down on a few, see if they work for you.

AstroChuck's avatar

Who the f*** eats pearls?

whatthefluther's avatar

pearl onions? great with peas!

AstroChuck's avatar

I’m certain pearl onions are vegan.

Unless you sauté them in bacon fat,.

Likeradar's avatar

@eponymoushipster and @AstroChuck Many vegans (maybe most vegans) don’t wear animal products either. So no, I would say pearls probably aren’t vegan-approved.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Likeradar i know

at a certain point, though, the whole vegan thing goes into the absurd. ok, you don’t want to wear leather, because it’s “cruel”, ok. but pearls? c’mon.

let’s not pick the flowers either; just because you can’t hear them scream doesn’t mean they aren’t.

Likeradar's avatar

@eponymoushipster My vegan brother won’t even wear silk… because of the plight of the silk worms. To each his own. :)

Tink's avatar

What the hell?! Pearls? Uhm im with AstroChuck on that.
But if you mean jewelery, I would guess not because they are some sort of animals aren’t they? I’m no vegan, so I don’t know, but I would wear pearls. Because there is no harm done there.

Likeradar's avatar

From wikipedia: “Many hundreds of pearl oysters or pearl mussels have to be gathered and opened, and thus killed”

I’m a lacto-ovo-pescatarian and don’t wear animal products. I eat seafood, but I can honestly see why someone wouldn’t be in support of wearing pearls. @Tink1113 says there’s no harm done in harvesting pearls, but the oysters would probably beg to differ.

AstroChuck's avatar

@Likeradar- I’ve been a vegetarian (ovo-lacto, not vegan) for nineteen years. I don’t wear leather (except for my work shoes and work belt as the USPS requires me to), silk, nor pearls. It’s not just vegans. However, I’ve never heard of anyone referring to something not eaten as being “vegan.”

Likeradar's avatar

@AstroChuck Google “vegan shoes”... from my understanding it can describe anything made without animal products. Oh, and is there a word for non-vegans who don’t wear animal products? Seems like there should be some kind of name for it.

Tink's avatar

@Likeradar Im sorry I thought that oysters had to be dead and old in order to grow pearls.

AstroChuck's avatar

@Likeradar- Yeah. They’re called “humane.”

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

No. Pearls are the product of an animal.

YARNLADY's avatar

Many people are avoiding diamonds too, but not because of the poor dead dinosaurs that made them. It’s because of the inhumane way they are mined, and the use of the profits that people disagree with.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m pretty sure that being “vegan” is a whole life style, not just food.

casheroo's avatar

I would think it wasn’t very vegan, since it’s an animal product…and I view being vegan as a lifestyle not just pertaining to food.

as a side note, I love pearls…don’t judge me!

asmonet's avatar

@YARNLADY: It is now. /eyeroll

eponymoushipster's avatar

save a plant, eat a cow.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Tink1113 no, pearls are the biproduct of sand getting trapped inside of the animal, so it creates the smooth pearl around this sand particle or other debris to stop it from irritating it.

@eponymoushipster i want beef, i want it now!

AstroChuck's avatar

Here’s a vegetarian pearl.

Not vegan, though.

Inofaith's avatar

What’s all the fuss about.

I think by arguing over “if it’s vegan yes or no” I think the whole point is to ask yourself this question: “am I o.k. with consuming this product?”
Doesn’t matter if it belongs to some group or category somebody else created. As long as you’re acting upon your own moral beliefs everything should be fine.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

No they are not vegan…. and for people who made a comment about eating pearls, I hope you were kidding.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Inofaith I think you’re missing the point here… the reason a vegan would want to know if pearls are vegan isn’t because they want to know if it’s “allowed” within their vegan title! It’s because they believe in the vegan way of life and are curious exactly as to how pearls are cultured and if it is not vegan, then it is outside of their comfort zone.

Anyone who chooses their meals for a title is ridiculous (and I hope there aren’t people like that! But that’s what I thought you were suggesting people do). It’s not that dang cool.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@uberbatman i’d eat people if it was legal! i’d eat people if it was legal!

Tink's avatar

@uberbatman So what does that have to do with killing the oyster?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Tink1113 well how else are you getting the pearl out of the oyster without ripping it open and in turn killing it?

Inofaith's avatar

@BBSDTfamily Well, ok. I get your point.
But all I’m saying is that a vegan doesn’t need somebody to stamp “vegan or not” on everything. But you can apply ther rules yourself right?

Think we all agree that in order to harvest pears some creatures are killed in the process. So then the answer for a vegan would be obvious right?

AstroChuck's avatar

@Inofaith- Im pretty sure you can harvest pears without killing any creatures.

Inofaith's avatar

@AstroChuck Yes exactly my point, I think we could harvest without killing animals.

But the people who do the harvesting (don’t know if it’s considered illegal in those countries) do kill them… that’s their way of working. So we can think of better ways… but the industry works differently at the moment.

So yeah, pealrs are okay… but they way they are brought to the market isn’t.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Inofaith Right, if you already know how pearls are harvested. If you didn’t, you’d ask. Or you could simplify the answer you’d get by asking if they are vegan…. which translates to “are any animals hurt in the process?”

eponymoushipster's avatar

@AstroChuck ok, we’ll harvest your pair and see if it harms you.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@eponymoushipster Lol pair of what? Or do I want to know?

Tink's avatar

@BBSDTfamily His pair of oysters

BBSDTfamily's avatar

LOL that’s what I was afraid of!

AstroChuck's avatar

@Inofaith- No. In order to harvest a pearl you have to kill the oyster. I thought we were talking about pears.

PupnTaco's avatar

Oh for Christ’s sake.

eponymoushipster's avatar

but a fruit dies when you pull it from the tree.

AstroChuck's avatar

@eponymoushipster- Which is why Gandhi would never pluck fruit from the tree but would wait for it to fall horribly to the ground, a mangled, twisted mess.
The bastard!

Darwin's avatar

Apparently, you don’t have to kill the oyster to harvest a pearl, at least the first time you force an oyster to make a pearl. However, the second time around apparently the oyster does make the ultimate sacrifice. I should imagine with entirely naturally formed pearls, there wouldn’t be any control over where the pearl forms, so you would indeed have to kill the oyster just to see if there is a pearl.

However, for those strict vegans who like the look, there are always faux pearls.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@AstroChuck and look at him. he’s dead.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@YARNLADY diamonds created in the lab are now available, anf they are the same crystal and chemical composition as real diamonds, just without the blood stigma attached. And cheaper too, since the DeBeers family doesn’t have their filthy hand in the mess. I bought my wife a set of earrings and a ring with a total carat weight of 2 carats, for less than $200. Lab created diamonds will cut glass and are identical in hardness as mined diamonds. Most people and many jewelers cannot tell the difference. And best of all, no oysters were killed to make them.

zoey's avatar

From Peta:
http://www.peta.org/about/faq/Is-there-any-reason-I-shouldnt-buy-a-pearl-necklace.aspx

A pearl is an ulcer that is formed when an irritant, such as a parasite, enters an oyster, who responds by coating it with nacre (a crystalline substance that gives pearls their luster). Stress is what prompts an oyster to secrete nacre (just like stress creates human ulcers).

Because pearls naturally form in only one in 10,000 oysters and because the creation of a pearl can take up to three years, pearl-makers have devised a process called “culturing,” or cultivating, that allows them to exploit oysters faster and cheaper.

Culturing involves surgically opening each oyster shell and inserting an irritant in the oyster. Freshwater pearls are cultured by inserting another oyster’s mantle tissue. Saltwater pearls have beads and another oyster’s mollusk tissue inserted. Fewer than half of the oysters may survive this process.

Cultivators further stress the oysters by suspending them in water in a cage, washing their shells, moving them around in different waters, and raising and lowering their cages to subject them to changing water temperatures.

After the pearls are extracted from the oysters, one-third of oysters are “recycled” and put through the culturing process again. The others are killed and discarded.

For those concerned about the environment, there is another reason to avoid pearls. Aquaculture has contributed to destruction of natural pearl oyster beds from pollution and overharvesting.

Of course, with so many modern pearl imitations, as well as other kinds of jewelry, it’s easy to do without pearls.

BirthrightBotanicals's avatar

i joined this site just to reply to this fluthering. Thanks, Peta poster. vegetarian since seven and an herbalist- the idea of pearls sounds as cringesome as do diamonds- but they were my boyfriends birthstone and i wanted his birthstone as our engagement ring. further fluthering concludes- June has three birthstones!? pearl, alexandrite and moonstone. you’d think it common courtesy that something’s suffering would taint the beauty of a thing… convenience is fine but at the price of detatchment? If only we felt the pain we cause.

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