Consistently classified among the references for calcite simple prisms, the microstructural units that form the outer layer of the Pinctada margaritifera have been investigated through a series of morphological, crystallographical and biochemical characterizations. It is often said that the polygonal transverse shape of the prisms result from the competition for space between adjacent crystals. In contrast to this classical scheme the Pinctada prisms appear to be composed of four successive developmental stages from the concentrically growing disks on the internal side of the periostracum to the morphological, structural and compositional changes in both envelopes and mineral components at the end of the prisms. These latest structural and compositional changes predate nacre deposition, so that the end of prism growth is not caused by occurrence of nacre, but by metabolic changes in the secretory epithelium. This sequence makes obvious the permanent biological control exerted by the outer cell layer of the mantle in both organic envelopes and mineralizing organic phases.