Monday, January 7, 2013

Pearls and Old Things

I love old things. I love things with stories and with a unique past. Good thing. There are many old and interesting things in this city I am living. In the US, I found old things also. It was actually my hobby and thrill to go to every Goodwill, Salvation Army or second hand store. Even when I visited friends and relatives in other cities, if I spotted a Goodwill, I had to stop there and shop! Over the years, I obtained many children's books and puzzles for my kids and my classroom. It was a good way to get a shopping rush! However, the rush for me was finding something that had a "story." One old thing that I found was a tattered and falling apart old brown colored Bible. Before I bought it, I wondered "Who owned it before me? Who read it and was comforted by its words?" Actually, every time I read a "used" book, I wonder who held it before me.

So, how does this relate to Saudi Arabia and Pearls? Good question. Thanks for being patient with me as a rambled the above pre-amble to my story.

Pearls. Pearls are old. Did you know that the rarest and roundest most prized pearls can take about 5 years to form? I found this out, after I purchased some REAL pearls from Al-Balad, one of the oldest areas within Jeddah.

I recently became interested in pearls when I saw strings of them for sale at the street market. I had never seen such interesting things for sale at a street market before. Pearls are usually in jewelry stores or around someones neck! I will never forget that elderly man sitting criss-cross on a rug, with strings (literal white strings!) of pearls. Now, what I found most interesting was that these pearls were not perfect. They were cream colored and not round. Each one looked a bit different. I asked the elderly vendor if they were real and he said "yes, of course, look at them, you can tell that they are." He showed me his fake pearls and his real ones. Somehow I knew that he was right. So, I paid less than twenty US dollars for them and brought them home.

Investigation time. Why were the pearls so cheap? I went on YouTube and found out that the more rare a pearl is, the more expensive it will be. Pearls that are rare, are the ones that are almost completely round and have a high sheen. They usually take up to five years to form.

Here are a few video's about how pearls are formed and tips for Pearl shopping.

The pearls that I now own are not the rare. However, I wonder how many people own these type. I just love them, they are mostly round, a little bumpy in places and they have a medium sheen. To me, they are more beautiful that the rare and expensive ones. What do you think?


  1. I think they are very beautiful. I have seen those before. I have a friend who used to travel to Bangladesh to bring back natural pearls. He would sell the pearls and use the money to buy Bibles to send back to the people in their native language.

  2. Hi Allison,
    Thank you! Many thanks for reading our blog, also.What an amazing story about your friend! These pearls, I was told, are from Turkmenistan. By the way, are you receiving new posts via your e-mail? I am just checking to see if that aspect of the blogs is working correctly. Thanks! :)

  3. Amazing! I think I like them more then the round "perfect" ones. I'm so excited to find these kinds of little gems when I come to KSA with my husband at the end of the year!