THE PEARL (SEA GEM)

APPEARANCE - USAGES - HISTORY/ORIGIN

For hundreds of years, Pearls have been considered one of the most precious gems and have been highly sought after for their beautiful iridescence. Born within oysters, trysters, and other such mollusks, these gems of the sea rank a high price on Caelereth markets, and are one of the largest moneymaking exports of the Avennorian people.

A Noblewoman wearing a Pearl Earring

View picture in full size Pic description. An Erpheronian noblewoman wearing a pearl earring. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.

Appearance. Pearls tend to vary in shape, size, and color, but are usually rather small (half a nailsbreadth on average) with an iridescence called "orient". Pearls may be a lovely pink, orange, gold, cream, or white, though there have been rare occasions where black Pearls, varying from a dark gray to a deep ebony black, have been found. Many elves, who are followers of Av, believe these dark-coloured, especially pure ebony, Pearls to poison the heart and make the possessor become evil and greedy, believing this black nacre is the result of Cor's touch. In any case, only a few such special Pearls, maybe two or three, are found per decade. Because of this, they are the most valuable of all pearls and are the most sought after by other races, primarily humans, who don't care much for elven superstition as they call it.

Pearls are usually a round shape, through perfectly round pearls are something hard to come by. Out of the hundred of thousands of natural oysters and trysters caught each year, only about 2,000 of those will carry Pearls and out of those, only a hundred or so will be round Pearls. However, oyster and tryster farming has come into play, and the process of forcing particles in to the shell of the mollusk, then putting them in special habitats, where the pearls can grow and develop, is currently in the experimental stage. However, the few Pearls so far produced have failed to be as large as they are meant to be or haven't quite the amount of iridescence that natural pearls have.

Though round Pearls are the most valuable ones, tear-shaped and button-shaped Pearls also catch a high price. These can be used to make buttons and earrings.

Blemished also play a part in the price and appearance of a Pearl. Pearls with only one blemish are called "perfect Pearls". Blemished can sometimes be removed by peeling away the damaged layers of the Pearl.
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Usages. Pearls are valued for their soft yet iridescent appearance. Pearls are often used to make necklaces. A necklace made of perfect Pearls catches a high price on the market and is often seen as a sign of great wealth and beauty. Necklaces and bracelets containing perfect Pearls of all the same color and size are even more expensive and far more rare. Pearls are often used to make earrings and buttons as well. Highly blemished pearls will have their layers peeled away until they are tiny, but perfect. These will be used to adorn dresses or to create elaborate hairpieces.
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An Avennorian Pearl Diver

View picture in full size Image description. An Avennorian pearl diver with her two fisher-ghuls, being of Shan'thai stock, with her darker hair and high-set cheekbones. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.

Formation. Oysters, trysters and other shelled mollusks create Pearls as a defense mechanism. These shellfish create a substance known as nacre (a.k.a. "pearl father"). This substance covers the inside of their shell giving the insides an iridescent appearance. Sometimes the shell of these mollusks can be used to make buttons or other such objects. This layer of nacre is called the nacreous layer or "pearls layer" and it protects the fleshy body of the shellfish from being scratched by its own shell. When a foreign object, usually a grains or two of sand, enters the shell, the mollusk begins coating it with thin sheets of nacre. It with coat it will successive layers until the particle is completely enclosed in a thick nacre shell. This is then the Pearl.

Because Pearls are formed by layers of nacre, the layers can be pulled off to get rid of blemishes.
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History/Origin. Ever since 11.348 b.S. when Svarring Joling was run aground on a reef in the waters of Southern Sarvonia, the people of the area have depended heavily on the sea and have collected Pearls. The Avennorian people, as they are now known, have collected Pearls for thousands of years and nearly 40% the governments annual income comes from selling pearls, even though the exports of seafood is far more than that of Pearls. The Avennorian pearl-divers are able to destinguish what kind of nacre an oysters will form just by looking at its shell, and can determine the color of the pearl inside. However, since oysters containing black Pearls often look the same as oysters that have dull, non-iridescnet nacre, they are far harder to find.

The
Avennorian people are also some of the best pearl-farmers and have had the most success raising oysters to create beautiful, round pearls. Avennorians have shops all over the former Avennorian territory where they drill holes into pearls so that they can be strung into necklaces. They are also adept and removing blemishes. Because of their affinity for Pearls, they are sometimes called the "Pearl-People".

Though the people of the Santharian provinces of Brendolan and Truban (the former Stratanian territory) also have Pearls growing on their shores, they are not as adept with working with them. Often those Stratanians who do make a living out of pearl-diving will send their Pearls to Manthria, where the Avennorians live. Here they can be crafted into necklaces, buttons, bracelets, hairpieces, ect. 
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