Pearls are such a timeless classic – love the versatility of how and what I can wear them with. For a formal or semi-formal look they can be worn with a dress or a suit, alternatively I like to punch up a pair of jeans and heels by wearing a long strand knotted about two-thirds down.
I have always been intrigued by the science of how pearls evolve. When I think about how such a beautiful gem can come about from a relationship with a mollusk and a minute grain of sand it boggles my mind.
To learn that when a foreign object, like a speck of sand, enters an oyster, clam or mussel it’s an irritant to their body. Over the course of several years, the natural process by which it uses to protect itself from the irritant produces a pearl.
Being the curious person I am, I tried, unsuccessfully I might add, to find out who was the first person(s) to discover pearls because had it been me the world would have never experienced their beauty. This is where my imagination quickly conjured up an image of a prehistoric me on the shore of some distant land taking a casual stroll (I needed me time away from my Neanderthal of a husband).
So anyways, I’m walking along the shore in my designer faux animal hide, carrying my ever-present club (a gal can’t be too safe you know) when suddenly this thing washes up on the beach. I stoop to get a closer look and poke it with my club. Hmmmm, “it doesn’t move” I think to myself, so I beat it until it breaks open and I see the slimy goo that scares the mess out of me. “This is not good” I must warn the village….
Coming back to the present, while I couldn’t find out exactly how pearls were first discovered I found an article by Fred Ward where he referenced gemologist, George Frederick Kunz, who believed that “an ancient fish-eating tribe, perhaps along the coast of India, initially appreciated the shape and lustre of saltwater pearls, which they discovered while opening oysters for food.” See I wasn’t far off at all.
My grandma possessed so many treasures among them an antique china closet filled with lovely porcelain, glassware, and silverware. The pieces that wouldn’t fit in the china closet were wrapped and stored away in barrels. I remember asking her why she never used most of the things that were on display and she said something to the effect that they weren’t meant to be used.
Grandma also had tons of jewelry that was passed down or given to her as gifts. With the exception of her wedding ring and a watch she always wore, she wasn’t really into baubles and because of this she gave me a long strand of pearls and two brooches. Unlike grandma, when I reached my early 20s I wore these pieces she gave to me along with others I accumulated off and on for years.
Today I only have one of the brooches, a watch from grandma’s youth given to me by my aunt, and a couple of other personal items. Out of the few things I have left that belonged to my grandmother I really miss the pearls (the knots in the strand became loose with wear and I think I may have inadvertently disposed of them for this reason).
As you might gather from today’s post I loved, loved, loved, my grandma. She was such an amazingly giving person, a positive role model, who always thought of others first. Her door was never closed to anyone in need. She was the one who instilled in me a sense of pride, integrity, compassion, and strength.
There was something else she taught me even though she may have been unaware and that is to cherish now. While grandma had some beautiful things that part of her, (it seemed) was afraid to lose, she knew they were just things the real value was placed on the people in her life. She’s been gone for 18 years now and her legacy lives on in those she left behind.
“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.” ~John Burroughs