Natural Pearls of Bahrain
Natural Pearls - DANAT photo
For centuries, divers have risked their lives to hunt for natural pearls in the oyster beds around the islands of Bahrain. The rarest and most remarkable pearls can garner hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
At the birth of the pearl trade, the adventurous divers, who leapt from boats with only rudimentary equipment, took serious risks. Some suffered blindness from eye infections they sustained in the salty sea, while others lost their hearing after descending or surfacing too quickly without equalizing the air pressure in their ears.
After a dive, these treasure hunters sat down to start the lengthy process of shucking their haul: opening the oyster with a specially crafted, blunt knife and then searching the flesh inside to try and find a pearl. It is very rare to find a natural pearl in a wild oyster, and most are cast aside when they fail
to yield one.
Natural pearls can come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and degrees of luster. Divers dream of finding a “Dana” pearl, an exceptional natural pearl that would command huge sums. The most revered in the marketplace tend to be perfectly round and white, while other pearls can show hues of pink, green, brown or yellow.
Merchants can spend decades gathering strings of natural pearls into a magnificent necklace, as the gems must be carefully matched and graduated to create a rare and beautiful piece of jewelry.