In my previous blog post, I showed what it looks like when an Akoya pearl is extracted from an oyster. In the workshop, the first thing we did was pick our own frozen oyster from a big bucket. I was surprised by this as I expected to actually see the oysters alive in a water tank. But there they were — frozen.
I had always heard that pearls are delicate or fragile, unlike diamonds which are more durable, and can be easily blemished from contact with human sweat or cosmetics. That, of course, is true, but I also found that pearls are much stronger than I originally thought and didn’t require too much sensitive handling.
And, finally, I also found that pearls are a part of creatures. They are smaller than I imagined, fitting in the size of a female palm. And even though there were 4 people in my workshop group and a total of 6 oysters, no one picked a really round solidly colored pearl. They had ridges, were gray-colored, and shaped like a teardrop. I found myself wondering how many oysters I needed to open until I could find a beautiful round one like the one on my necklace. And I was a little saddened by the thought that many of them would be unused for jewelry.
Another interesting finding was that the shells of Akoya pearls are quite beautiful. In fact, the rainbow colors of the shell make the pearls bright with character — in their base color and in their overtones.