Edit Blog Post
Published: September 30th 2017
Postcard Perfect ...
... Due to the cloudy weather in Moorea, we haven't taken too many great photos - this was the nicest picture of the trip so far, with some spectacular hues of blue that you typically see in Tahitian travel brochures.
Geo: -16.7493, -151.01
If there is really an example of complete and utter perfection, it may well be the pearl - not only is it perfectly-coloured with a perfect complexion, it's also perfectly-shaped. What's even more amazing about this, is that it's a byproduct of a completely organic process, mother nature at its finest. But silly me and my even sillier naivete - even though I knew that the whole concept of cultured pearls involved at least a small amount of human interference, I never imagined how intensive the process was!
I'm not sure whether or not it's a good thing that French Polynesia's purveyors of pearls are so upfront about their pearl culturing process, because while, on the one hand, the long and difficult process somehow justifies the high cost, it also obliterates the myth and romanticism of Mother Nature producing something so perfect. I always knew that pearl culturing involved man introducing something foreign into an oyster, which causes the oyster to try and reject it, and in the process, a beautiful pearl can be formed. But it was amazing to learn exactly how intrusive a process it is, tantamount to surgery, the equivalent of an oyster boob job!
First off, a
Must Be French Fish ...
... Since they love their baguette so much! It was funny how the tour guide told us just to dip a whole baguette in the water, rather than rip it up into pieces for feeding.
suitable oyster is identified as a potential donor, an oyster that is known to produce certain desirable colours - a piece of its flesh, the mantle, is grafted into another oyster, in the hopes that it will result in a beautifully-coloured pearl. That in itself isn't so bad, but the kicker is that a piece of shell from another mollusk is implanted into the oyster, but only after it has been machined and polished into a perfectly-spherical shape. It makes sense in a lot of ways, because that's how you increase the odds of obtaining a perfectly-shaped pearl, but in many ways, it really devalues the pearl.
Back in the day, before pearl culturing became popular, the odds of obtaining a flawless and perfect pearl was infinitesimally small, which made that pearl all the more desirable, since they were impossible to find. But as with everything else in the world, humans always find a way to improve upon perfection, and have come up with a completely unnatural process to mimic the natural. Even then, it's still a completely flawed process that only results in a very small percentage of high-quality pearls, the majority still ending up misshapen, or pockmarked worse than
Oyster Shell Jewelry ...
... Sometimes oyster farmers will glue the nucleus directly to the shell, with the intention of cutting out the embedded pearl with a section of the shell itself, to make pendants and the like.
an acne-ravaged pimply-faced teenager.
It's really enough to give you a headache, but luckily for us, there is a great cure for that in French Polynesia - grab another Hinano beer, stuff yourself with some more poisson cru, and then have a nap on yet another paradisiacal beach. That's far better than wracking your brain, trying to understand the sham that is pearl production!
Tot: 1.091s; Tpl: 0.02s; cc: 5; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0184s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb