Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Beauty, i.e PEARL


Akoya Pearls - Silver, Rose and Ivory (Photo taken from Pearl-Guide.com)

In my previous postings, I have written about my jewelleries and gemstones of Water Agate Bracelet, Rose Quartz Pendant, Citrine Ring, 21-Eye Dzi Beads with Obsidian Bracelet, Golden-Strand Ritulated Quartz Bracelet and Jade Neclace. Today, I am called to write about another magnificent type of gemstone that fascinates me, i.e. PEARLS.

I believe not many of us understand the real value of pearl. It is very different from any other gemstones because of its organic nature. It comes from animals, molluscs (clam family like oyster and mussel) to be exact. Pearl is one of the most sought after gemstone for jewellery. Fascinating, isn’t it!

Astrologically speaking, pearl is the gemstone for people born under the sign of Cancer and Gemini. Why is it so? Well, because pearl is synonymous with the moon which appears in these signs. Some folklore described pearls as the 'teardrops of the moon’. Why associate it with the moon? Logically speaking, because of its translucent lustre and unique colour, it almost reminisce the shine of the moon. Haha…

Spiritually, pearl is the symbol of feminine wisdom, purity, and spiritual transformation. It changes bad fortune into good and discord into harmony. It also brings support from influential people.

A story about my knowledge of pearl industry; I spend my whole adolescent life in the Island of Borneo. This is where I develop my sense of adventure :) We were living in the East Coast area of (Tawau and Lahad Datu). In between the town of Tawau and Lahad Datu, there is this town, namely Semporna that used to be a very famous spot for pearl enthusiasts. A Local-Japanese joint venture company namely Sarikat Kaya Pearls Sdn Bhd used to operate a cultured pearl farm (akoya pearl) in Bohey Island, 18km away from Semporna which covers some 11.5 hectares of area since 1963. However, I was informed that the pearl farm has no longer in existence. My mother used to buy loose pearls to make up earrings, pendants and bracelets. She even bought it in bulks to give away as souvenirs for family members back home in. I wonder what the price of pearls in Semporna is now.

Back to the subject of PEARLS, there are many types in the market today. It can be a natural pearl or a cultured pearl and it can be saltwater or fresh water. Natural pearl is very rear nowadays. In the olden days, people go for pearl hunting by diving into the deep sea to look for one. It can be a dangerous job. However, because of its rarity, the natural wholly formed pearl can be very precious as well as very expensive. While cultured pearl means it is cultivated in a pearl farm with human intervention. The man who worked hard on pearl farming industry and made it so famous all over the world was Kokichi Mikimoto (1858-1954). Although it was not him that invented the first pearl culturing technology, he was credited as THE FATHER OF THE MODERN CULTURED PEARL INDUSTRY. He successfully cultured whole akoya pearls and founded the modern cultured pearl industry. You may get all the information from the internet :)

Now what is the difference between saltwater pearl and freshwater pearl. Well, both are produced by totally different types of mollusc that lives in different habitats. Saltwater mollusc lives in saline (salty) water of the sea while freshwater mollusc lives in rivers, lakes and ponds. They are totally of different species and genetics :)

Examples of the famous saltwater pearls are akoya pearls, Tahitian pearls, and South Sea pearls. Akoya pearls are the most famous to make up jewelery because it is very rounded and suitable for necklaces, bracelets, earrings and even rings. Imagine yourself to be given an akoya pearl necklace. Wouldn’t it be fantastic! Wow!

However, freshwater pearls can be very valuable too because unlike saltwater pearl, it is generated as a whole pearl with no bead nucleus inserted in the molluscs. It needs only little stimulation to enable the pearl to develop. Therefore, freshwater pearls rarely well rounded like saltwater pearl which follows the shape of its bead nucleus inserted in the molluscs. A well rounded freshwater pearl has a high value. Quality freshwater pearl necklace for example has to be in the same size and colour to produce well appreciated jewellery.

Different type of mollusc produces different type of quality pearls. It varies in sizes as well as colours. For example, black pearl is produced by "black-lipped" oyster, or Pinctada Margaritifera cumingi. A well rounded pearl usually is suitable to be made into necklaces. Black pearl necklace is the symbol of elegance and class. You may want to get one for yourselves or your loved ones. Ever since the revolution of pearl farming by Kokichi Mikimoto, the price of pearls is affordable to most of us. You may find this site valuable to buy good pearl jewelery:)


Lady Di final pearl necklace before her tragic death


Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz likes to wear her pearls in most of her formal functions.

Pearls are good for gifts. It signifies pureness of heart, honesty, sincerity, wisdom, and pure love. Not many dare to buy pearls as gifts due to fear of people thinking that it might be fake ones. Therefore, when buying pearls, please ensure you do a little research on it, know how to value it and pick a quality one. Famous people who like to wear pearls are Lady Di, Princess of Wales and Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, our former Minister of International Trade & Industry.

To think of it, women have so much to be thankful for. Women adorned and pampered themselves with the best of beauties in this world of evanescent. If people ask me to describe beauty, I would say, “Beauty starts with Eve”. Adam would agree with me :)

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