Pearls of knowledge

I’m spending my time away from teaching gardening, trying to keep the house from being so full of stuff and messing around on my bench.  I still can’t help working on the talks that I give.  Don’t know why I like doing this so much – I keep finding out cool things I didn’t know about gems and then I want to talk about it.

I am currently reading “Tears of Mermaids:  The Secret Story of Pearls” by Stephen Bloom.  He is a journalist whose childhood appreciation of his mother’s ‘dress up’ pearls lead him around the world in search of contemporary pearls sources.  It is written as a story of his quest for understanding of the path a pearl takes from oyster to necklace.  I’m about half way through but am learning things that I didn’t know.  For instance, 99.9% of all freshwater peals in the world come from freshwater mussels in Chinese rivers and each mussel can have at least 50 pearls compared to one pearl in a seawater oyster.  Freshwater pearls take 7 years from tissue insertion to pearl harvest where oyster gestation is twice as long.  There is also no nucleated bead at the center of Chinese freshwater pearl so it is not a bead with a nacre coating like other cultured pearls.

Anyway, I will give a better review of the book once I finish it.

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