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The Not-So-Glamorous Side of Pearls

October 11, 2011

“Gold shines, diamonds sparkle, but pearls actually glow.”

– Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls

 

As promised, I’m sharing some of the research I’ve been doing for the short story I want to write. At the moment, it might turn into a novella but that is beside the point. The point is, I’ve been researching pearls.

Now when I began my research, I was thinking of this:

 But what I actually read about was more like this:

 

Pearls are beautiful but the process to get them is nasty and dangerous. Especailly before there was the aid of technology, which is what I was most interested in. I’ve been researching pearl diving. Here are a few of the interesting facts I’ve uncovered.

  • The world’s largest pearl was 9.4 inches long, 14 pounds, and valued at $40 million dollars.
  • Pearls take about 2-3 years to grow. The optimum size can range from 12-17 millimeters, about the diameter of a large-sized marble.
  • It was extremely rare if more than a single pearl was found per every thousand oysters hauled to the surface.
  • Pearl divers can dive up to 125 feet to find pearl oysters as well as hold their breath for over three minutes
  • Divers would carry a large stone to help them descend quickly, though the rapid descent could make them spew blood from their ears and mouth, which would attract sharks
  • Many divers were deaf from ear drums that exploded but many welcomed the malady as it allowed them to dive deeper
  • Depending on the region, divers had to cope with sharks, crocodiles, giant clams, grouper, octopus, diamond fish, sawfish, jellyfish, rays, barracuda, dragon fish, and moray eels.

Pearl diving was less glamorous and more dangerous than I thought. But that works great for fiction. You have to put your beloved character in horrible situations otherwise, who’s going to care about them?

The other part of my story involves mermaids. I’ll leave it at that. If I finish before NaNoWriMo begins, I might share a bit here on the blog. Happy writing everyone!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Cheri permalink
    October 22, 2011 9:56 am

    wearing pearls will never be the same….

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