note: pictures from October 2010
About 10 years ago I decided that I wanted to buy jewelry as my souvenir on trips.
I usually get an inexpensive fridge magnet to have something touristy with the name of the place, but then save up my spending money to get a nicer piece of jewelry than I would normally allow myself to buy: a watch in Durham, sterling earrings in New Orleans and so on.
On my way back to the hotel after outrigger canoe surfing at Waikiki I walked through the huge street marketplace and was accosted (in the friendliest way possible) by a sweet girl hawking coupons to the Pearl in Oyster kiosk.
I was tired from rowing and punch drunk on sunshine and the ocean so I thought what the hey? After all, one of my favorite charms is the pearl I got from the Japanese diving pond at Sea World Ohio with my grandparents Craig back in 1908 (okay, maybe it was 1982, but it sure feels like 100 years ago).
With my purple 40% off coupon in hand, I carefully poked through the oyster bowl until I found the one I wanted.
|I took the tapping very seriously|
I've heard that other pick-a-pearl places you have to shout out some crazy phrases, but she just had me do the traditional three taps on my oyster before shucking that bad boy to reveal my lovely black pearl.
Even knowing that it is cultured (perfect natural pearls are even rarer than you think) in no way detracts from how beautiful it was after she cleaned and polished it with salt.
Now for the expensive part: finding a setting.
You don't have to buy a setting, but after seeing how gorgeous the pearl was, I knew that it had to be my Hawaii souvenir. There were some sterling cages for charm bracelets, but I just wasn't feeling them. My other pearl charm is actually on a necklace bail so I asked to look at necklace settings. There was a simple silver curve that reminded me of a wave which seemed fitting since i'd just come from the beach; it was perfect.
Next comes drilling (glad that isn't my job), gluing and setting.
While my pearl was becoming a pendant, I got to pick another oyster and found double pinks. They however came home in a little bag as my pendant turned out to be a bit more expensive than I anticipated (about 3 times as much) because we looked at so many settings that I ended picking a white gold one which I thought was sterling. It was still within vacation souvenir parameters, but there was nothing left in the fund to make pink pearl earrings.
Flash forward more than 2 years and my beautiful, expensive pearl pendant (which an appraiser told me has a little diamond chip at the end of the wave that I never noticed) still had not been worn because I didn't have the correct chain for it. I knew that I wanted something kinda long - between 24 and 36 inches- and would prefer a snake or box chain.
While doing NikCo supply shopping on EBay I found the perfect chain for $1.99!
[to my amazement and disappointment it turned out to be sterling silver when it arrived; I know that should make me even happier about the deal, but it means I have to polish it...yech]
I wore my Hawaiian black pearl for the first times just a few weeks ago.
It makes me really happy.
Mental Morsel - the oysters people eat are not pearl oysters; in fact they aren't closely related at all
ps-hey Rea, look: it's a Hawaii post!