Bahrain Pearling History
For more than 2000 years, Bahrain's pearls have been prized as some of the best natural pearls in the world for their brilliance, purity and beauty. They are considered the rarest and most exceptional thanks to their unique nature: they are created where fresh water springs burst out into the warm, shallow, highly saline water. This combination of the sea’s freshwater springs gives the island kingdom its name – Bahrain – which means “two seas” in Arabic.
Its true magic lies in the mystery of its creation.
Pearl diving belongs to Bahraini cultural identity and tradition since thousands of years. Prior to the discovery of oil in 1932, ninety percent of the country’s population worked in jobs relating to the sea: as shipbuilders, sailors, fishermen, and pearl divers.
The millennia-long tradition of crafting fine jewellery with natural Bahrain pearls is still being continued in Bahrain by a handful of artisans. The hand method of drilling pearls is still used for making holes in the natural pearls of the Arabian Gulf. A round soft wood holds the pearls, selected with the tweezers by the artisan, that will be drilled one by one by hand.
Bahrain prohibits the import or trade of cultured pearls, and boasts a state-of-the-art pearl testing laboratory to ensure every pearl sold in Bahrain is natural.
Natural Pearls vs. Cultured Pearls
The real difference between natural and cultured pearls is its essence – was it created naturally, by chance, or has man manipulated nature in his laboratory for commerce.
The natural pearl occurs randomly in nature, without the aid of human intervention, it is the product of a living organism. It has hundreds and hundreds of layers, the depth of its lustre can never be imitated.
An x-ray of natural pearls brings out the multiple layers concealed within, offering a tribute to the passage of time. During the slow gestation of a pearl, taking up to 20 years, layer upon layer of ‘nacre’ coating is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed. How intriguing it is that each pearl produces a unique x-ray and that in Bahrain only 1 in 100 oysters will contain a pearl. These pearls are as living, immortal, mysterious and magical as those other life-forming “beads on a string”, our DNA, the hidden, unique coding within each of us, defining who we are. - Nathaly Jung (@yallahabibi_bh)
The very essence of our Pearls of Eternity collection is the natural Bahraini pearl, fashioned in creations of 18k gold with tinyOm's contemporary and unique design.
A pearl in a shell is born when the moonlight meets a drop of dew.
Symbolism of Natural Pearls
Arabs believed that pearls were the result of the tears of the gods, fallen into the ocean and making their way into the oysters. The Greeks believed that the goddess of love, Aphrodite shed pearls for tears. Even the Gates of Heaven were described as carved out of pearl in the Bible. Krishna, the Hindu god gave his beloved pearls when they were wed.
Pearls are timeless. It is the first gem known to mankind and is formed without human interference. Its delicate beauty has been associated with great figures in history throughout the ages and is often a defined with purity, beauty and magnificence.
In some cultures, pearl is seen as a symbol of wisdom. Natural pearls are born by nature, they are not something easily found. They are in the depth of the ocean where each pearl went through tides before its creation. This is likened to a person going through various experiences in life and the wisdom one gains from those experiences.
Pearls are also seen as reminder for us to look and dive into our own inner oceans and discover the brilliance hidden within.
You can learn more about Bahrain Pearling here: Pearling Path