Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pearl Factory

Years ago, I chose an ocean oyster from a vendor and received a pearl inside. I had it placed inside a little cage. I thought that it was so neat that I had picked it out myself and how one tiny grain of sand, an irritant to the oyster, could create such a beautiful pearl. One of our other stops on the Beijing tour was to a freshwater pearl factory. I had not known the difference between salt and fresh water pearls- with salt water, there are usually only 1, maybe 2 pearls inside the oyster. However, with fresh water pearls, there can be up to 30 pearls in one oyster. They opened one up for us and it had 20 inside, of varying colors. The color is determined by what substance irritates the pearl. I don't remember all of the specifics but the "black" or purple pearls are the rarest and most valuable. I got to keep one of the ones from the opened oyster- a light pinkish/purple one. The meat inside freshwater oysters can't be eaten- its really only for producing pearls. They also taught us the difference between real and fake pearls. Fake pearls are way too uniform/perfect and circular. They also can be scratched by your teeth (aka- the covering comes off). They had many beautiful pearl necklaces, bracelets, earrings and for quite reasonable prices- but I didn't buy any. I don't wear them enough to make it "worth" the purchase. The fake ones I have are good enough for me :-)

1 comment:

Mel said...

Hey Cheryl! I have really enjoyed your posts about your trip to Beijing. Looks like you had a wonderful time.