Before boarding our Paradise Junk we stopped at this pearl farm ~ factory to admire these legendary beauties and learn about how they come to be.
These are all cultured pearls,
which means that each of the mollusks were seeded with shell beads, like the ones below, to ensure the shape and size of the final pearl.
After they are seeded the oysters are put back into the bay where they covered the beads with a natural pearl substance over a period of time.
After that the oysters are harvested,
and the lustrous orbs are removed.
Have you ever wondered how the perfect little holes in pearls are made?
Each pearl is carefully positioned between the clamps on a machine like this and held steady so the hole can be bored with a fine drill bit.
The pearls are hand sorted by size, color and quality.
Elegant by~products of the pearl making process are Mother~of~Pearl buttons.
Circles are cut from these luminous shells,
and then polished and drilled to perfection.
After touring the factory and learning about the process there was a giant showroom filled with perfect pieces of jewelry to buy.
I’m so glad we waited so we could shop from our sweet friends who came to the side of the boat with their offerings.
It was a little more work, but it was a lot more fun to try to negotiate with the locals, and we loved the more irregular beauty of the necklaces and bracelets they passed up to us in their bamboo handled nets.
Looking back now, I wish I had bought just a few more!