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Pearls

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eggshaped
165733.  Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:42 am Reply with quote

Quote:
The first known example of pearl culturing came in the 12th century, when the Chinese produced little pearl Buddhas by sliding figurines into freshwater mussels between the body and the shell.


link

 
Molly Cule
165762.  Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:24 am Reply with quote

Cleopatra and Mark Anthony had a competition to see who could throw the most lavish dinner party. Cleopatra won, she took a pearl from one of her earrings, dissolved it in vinegar and drank it, this meant dinner had cost the equivalent of 80,000 gold pieces.
source - the very reliable Pliny.

 
Molly Cule
165781.  Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:46 am Reply with quote



A model of the liberty bell Mikimoto, the inventor of cultivated pearls, sent to New York. It is now in a museum on Mikimoto Pearl Island.

It has 12,250 pearls on it.

 
Flash
165782.  Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:47 am Reply with quote

Quote:
this meant dinner had cost the equivalent of 80,000 gold pieces


It must have tasted filthy, too. But at least there would have been a worm in the middle, like one of those bottles of tequila.

 
MatC
168983.  Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:37 am Reply with quote

Pearls don’t come from oysters, apparently. When the Dutch discovered that their American town - New Amsterdam - boasted the greatest oyster beds ever known, they were very excited. In Holland, “the word pearl was almost synonymous with wealth.” And these were big oysters - a foot long, people said.

However, their excitement resulted from “a gross misunderstanding of biology that still exists today.” Oysters don’t make pearls.

When an irritating foreign particle is sucked in by an Ostreid (a “true oyster,” ie the sort you eat), the oyster simply ejects it. Very occasionally, an irregular brown coating will form, as in a pearl, but it’s dull brown. These valueless lumps are known as brown pearls.

The pearl oyster - the animal that produces pearls - is “known in biology as Meleagrina or Pintada,” and it belongs “to the family Pteridae, and not the family Ostreidae.” A number of animals in this family produce nacre to coat indigestible food particles trapped in their shells. The Pteridae are more closely related to mussels than to oysters.

(Of course, it’s mostly a matter of etymology, I suppose, but nonetheless, if this is all true, and the oysters you eat never make pearls, I would suggest there’s a bit of Gen Ig going on there. I have read up on oysters twice in the last year, and never discovered that pearls and the meat called oyster came from two different animals!)

Source: The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky (Vintage Books 2006).

 
Flash
169089.  Mon Apr 23, 2007 1:03 pm Reply with quote

Yes, that's excellent. Are the pearl-producing non-oysters called oysters colloquially? I guess they are, but even so it's still a good supplementary to the 'not caused by grit' question.

 
Gray
169316.  Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:43 am Reply with quote

Could we get some fun out of these guys:



Maybe throw rotten fruit at 'em?

 
MatC
169657.  Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:09 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Yes, that's excellent. Are the pearl-producing non-oysters called oysters colloquially? I guess they are, but even so it's still a good supplementary to the 'not caused by grit' question.


Yes, I think so, as far as I can make out: I suppose there are "eating" oysters and "pearl" oysters. Actually, I'd want a second source on this, because it all sounds a bit complicated ...

 
Cparkinson
367932.  Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:41 pm Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
Pearls can be found in mussels, clams, whelks, conchs, abalones and snails as well as in oysters.

Hello Everyone,
Just a few more notes about pearls that you may like to know. Pearls have been used for personal ornament for thousands of years. They were probably one of the earliest gems found by prehistoric man. Properties: Purity, faith, charity, innocence, integrity, focus, wisdom, spirituality, sincerity, fertility.

Because of their natural beauty, pearls are associated with the matrix of life. Proponents say that the pearl helps balance one's bodily rhythms and hormonal levels with lunar cycles. Some claim that pearls can be used to help tap inner wisdom and to nurture the growth of love.

<Edited by Jenny to remove commercial link>

 

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