• Mollusk shells are made from calcium that is extracted from the waters in which they live or from the food the mollusks eat. There are two common forms of calcium carbonate, aragonite and calcite. They differ in crystal shape, but their chemical formula is the same. The denser of the two forms, calcite, is found in the hard, outer shell of the oyster. Whether calcium carbonate becomes aragonite or calcite depends on the “seed” crystals growth pattern. Many mollusk shells are lined with aragonite. Abalones and some oysters, including Louisiana oysters, are examples. The substance they produce is called “mother of pearl” or nacre. Nacre is what gives oysters and abalones the shine on the insides of their shells

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