22/02/2011 by Sarah Ritchie
A few years ago we visited the tourist attaction Coral World (in Eilat, at the top of the Red Sea). One of the timetabled demonstrations was the opening of an oyster to extract a pearl. It was the first time that I had witnessed this activity and I was determined not to miss it.
The woman quickly and deftly opened the oyster shell to revel the perfectly spherical, iridescent little cultured pearl.
The pearl is not only a natural beauty, but it is wonder how it is produced in the first place. A pearl – be it made with or without man’s intervention – is formed inside of certain mollusk shells as their defense mechanism against a potentially threatening irritant, such as a parasite. Man simply adds the irritant (not usually a grain of sand, by the way!) and the mollusk does the rest!
Not all pearls are round, and not all pearls are white, but all are beautiful, rare, fine, admirable and valuable. You won’t find me wearing a string of them, but you will find me admiring them in their beautiful splendour. You will also find me marveling at how a mollusk can teach us how to turn an irritating situation into one of worth…through patience, time and effort.