New Pearl Museum Opens in UAE

New Pearl Museum Opens in UAE

"RAK, which was historically known before as Julfar, was the capital of pearl trading as evident from old documents by European travellers and sailors," said Mr Al Suwaidi.

He points to a replica of a document dated 1654, from the governor general in Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia) to directors of the Dutch East India company in the Netherlands. It asks the company to send "two energetic and experienced merchants" to Julfar, where "this jewel is being fished, to stay there from the first to the last catch".

"So it made sense to open a museum here, solely dedicated to the pearl and its revival," Mr Al Suwaidi said.

The centuries-old pearling industry collapsed in the Gulf in the early 1930s with the Japanese invention of cultured pearls. Natural pearls occur in oysters without human intervention. Cultured pearls are created when the tissue of a donor oyster and a bead are artificially inserted into the shell. This practice rendered the dangerous occupation of pearl diving obsolete.

Regardless of the pearling industry's fate, the influence of the pearl lived on, as Emirati women are still being named after different types of local names for pearls, such as Dana, Hessa, Moza and Qemasha.

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