Tuesday, 7 May 2013


“The pearls are beautiful. They match your eyes.” Ever hear a cornier line than that from a jeweller.

I look, but I don’t buy.

I was alone at the pearl seminar on the ship a few days ago – exciting, sitting there, having thousands of dollars worth of chokers and rings passed around the room.

Slipping right through my fingers and on to the next person, after I have taken a good look, especially at the flaws and  dimples that the jeweller has said to look for.

 ... pearls still in the shell ...
This year, I have had a new appetite for pearls but no information about them – shape (round or baroque), size, colour, and skin purity. At least to learn about them. And on any shopping trip, I find myself going into small shops to see what selection they have in their show cases. There aren’t as many available varieties as a person might think – or perhaps I go to the wrong places to shop.

In Tianjin, Wyona and I walked through a market – and we got stuck at a sidewalk merchant’s kiosk – me first of all, and then her later down the line. Now this is a long story. No one spoke English. There were 5 strings of pink pearls. Wyona decided they would look nice, 2 ½ strings for her and 2 ½ strings for me. Now the trouble was, pantomiming this for the merchant and establishing a price. All she did was gather to both sides of her and behind her, many Chinese women, watching her and then the merchant – all of them trying to figure out what she was doing. Her signed language worked – 2 strands, one for each of us, knotted, paid for and picked up by 3 pm.

... every colour, every size, every hue ...
Now if that worked once, it should work twice – this time with tri-coloured pearls.

Put the two strings together and she would be back for them in 20 minutes.

It was when we got home and were studying their natural beauty that she began to laugh.

The pearls are white, pink and peach, one of each and then the pattern is replicated.

Wyona behind the earring rack and speaking with the clerk
The trouble is that the second necklace is 2 whites, 2 pinks, 2 peaches, and then the pattern repeated.

So half of the necklace has one design and the other half of the loop has the other design.

I was wondering tonight when we were watching the TV show were people take in their family treasures and have them appraised by an auctioneer, what the appraiser will say when one of her daughters takes that treasure in the Antique Roadshow, Maryland.


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