Challenge #02271-F081: Nacre or FacresteemCreated with Sketch.

in #fiction2 years ago


Pearls and Perlmutt[AN: AKA 'nacre' or 'mother of pearl'] are made by organic beings.
Aliens have never seen this Product before coming to Earth.
Of course, Earth has a new high-selling Export product. -- Anon Guest

Calcium carbonate is nothing new. It's formed from two relatively common elements in the periodic table and simple life forms make it the Universe over. Only one planet has evolved lifeforms that uses it in a laminal form. Aragonite, formed in plates, refracts light in intriguing ways. Many species find ways to create it -or something like it- in laboratories.

Only Earth has creatures that make it naturally.

Trade in cultured pearls skyrocketed almost overnight. All it took was one paua shell pendant and Earth had the Galactic Alliance's undivided attention. As a novelty, it was fascinating. Nacre made by organic beings. Further, other organic beings had figured out how to farm it before they figured out how to create it.

It was astonishing.

Tourism for Earth boomed. People wanted to see how the oysters and other nacre-creating life was farmed. Some had to visit in heavy lifesuits, but that didn't stop them. They came for the pearls, and purchased some shells, but they stayed for some other wonders.

Terran art, Terran performances, Terran garments[1]... it all boosted the Terran economy. Something for which the Terran inhabitants weren't entirely that happy about.

Then again, when one inhabits a wormhole cul-de-sac, one should be grateful for all one can get. Even if it is driving naif tourists around to see the local sights.

The tourist trade eventually came to be known as 'shells for the shellheads' and industry on Earth... transformed. Including a healthy fake nacre industry, adding artificial nacre to shells that never had possessed any. Some early hucksters added fake nacre to coconut shells, trading on the ignorance of the purchasers.

What a good trade it was, until even the Terran authorities cracked down on its practice.

The time for falsity was long ago, save in touristy places where visitors can make their own 'genuine fake' seashells or pearls. There's even nano text on the finished product, proudly proclaiming it as a genuine fake from whichever seaside town happened to create it. Thus proving, once and for all, that tourists will buy anything.

[1] Often bearing the legend, I visited Earth and all I got was this substandard outerwear.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / tish1]

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