Pearls: a Reveal, a Story, and a Rant…

1. My Reveal:

Akoya Pearl Earrings 7.5-8mm with 14K Gold Post-Backs

These beautiful earrings are a recent gift. Judging from the certificate, I’d say they’re an AA grade??? They have a soft rosy overtone and are made in Canada. I want to share them with you cuz I don’t have any collectible pearl earrings. Most of mine are Chinese freshwater pearls which are not worth much (and I’ll tell my story about my dislike for them in the next section). I’ve been reading up on pearls and these are the traditional, classic pearls to which the experts refer. They take 1-2 years for cultivation in colder, saltwater rendering the nacre to crystalize more slowly and densely. As a result, the nacre is thinner and the overall size is usually 5-10mm with the average being 7-7.5mm. It still shocks me that only one Akoya pearl can be cultivated in a Pinctada fucata oyster in its lifespan! Not only so, only about 20% are put into the trade with only 5% considered to be collector items!

 

2. My Story for Why I Despise Freshwater Pearls from China:

(Copied from my post on tPF)

I’ve never really been interested in pearls (or jewelry until recently) and I just want to share an experience of mine. I travel to China to visit my relatives every few years and obviously I do lots of shopping there. China has a huge market for producing and exporting their pearls. So what happens is that often in department stores, after you spend several hundred RMB, you gather points or whatever so that you can get a gift in return. These gifts with purchases are often pearls.

As I went toward the counter to get my gift, I saw buckets of oysters – yes LIVE oysters (or some form of mollusk)! The ladies at the counter just pried open all the shells with a knife and dug into the poor oysters to get the pearl out! Then they just threw the oysters into a bucket. I asked, “what do you do with those oysters in the buckets?”
“Oh they’re garbage,” she answered so casually as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do… 
I just think it’s really inhumane to USE live animals for a frivolous liking for mankind. I mean, one can argue that it’s inevitable when making any kind of luxury purchase, but it’s a different story when you’re completely taking advantage of animals and I think it’s a form of cruelty to just dig into their body and throw them away! They can be cultivated again to make more pearls if you wish or maybe, I dunno, consuming them would be better, but I think it’s preferable than just having them rot in some alleyway in the garbage cans after they’ve been dissected so heartlessly by the SAs.

 

3. My Rant Continued:

The Chinese freshwater pearl market, as well as many other nearby Asian countries in the trade, uses pearls in endless forms. Another big thing coming out from them, is their use in the cosmetic industry. Thousands of freshwater pearls are extracted and those that don’t make it to the top-notch grade to be termed “Freshadamas” are eliminated from the system to be either made into cheaper jewelry or crushed into “pearl powder,” called 珍珠粉 in Chinese.

Of course it’s good to make use of the pearls, but when people claim things like “Pearl Powder improves/prevents osteoporosis, wrinkles, aging, and stimulates fibroblasts for collagen growth” or weirder claims like “stabilizes emotions; alleviate spasms and tremors; improve visual sight, increase eyesight, cure eye pterygium and pinguicula; inhibiting vascular growth and inflammatory proliferation of eye tissues; clear internal heat; detoxicate; and (my favorite) prolong life expectancy,” it just makes me want to cry out for all the non-evidence based crap in Chinese medicine.

If you’ve never seen pearl powder before, they’re sold in little packets of 30-50 grams. You can EAT them by putting 0.5g in your beverage, pudding, or any food every other day to increase calcium absorption (mainly CaCO3), provides a dozen amino acids and minerals in your diet. Or you mix something like a gram with a few drops of milk to make a paste that you use as a purifying, softening, and brightening facial mask every week. My final verdict – All junk and hocus pocus!!!

Oh, I should mention that although there are many methods for using pearl powder and whether or not the benefits are achieved, other routes of intake, other than oral and topical as mentioned above, are not recommended – PLEASE DO NOT SNORT THIS STUFF! The solubility is also poor, so PLEASE NO IV INJECTIONS AS TEMPTING AS THEY MAY LOOK! And I say this with all due respect to some wacko scientists who actually are indeed doing these things to increase their bioavailibility to prove the myths of Chinese medicine to be true…

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