Unveiling the Mystique: Pearls, Moonlight, and Ageless Legends - by Robert Wan
The Mystical Moonlight
When the full moon pours its wonderful silver light onto the waves, oysters rise from the ocean floor to reach the surface. There, they open, and gently rocked by the waves, they lovingly soak in the nocturnal dew and the pure moonbeams. Pearls are born from this union. Thus, the East provides a magical, erotic fragrance in its explanation of the genesis of pearls.
Pearls have long had a divine and legendary origin in the eyes of humans. The imagination has allowed the ancient foundation of myths to speak, and in these stories, other aspects of truth are found than those scientific. Only about a century ago did we come to know, master, and reproduce the process that gives birth to a pearl. A past has therefore psychically "charged" the pearl with an aura of mystery, fascination, and a symbolic sense of perfection. Scientific observation has not been able to completely demagnetize the pearl. The legends still carry a part of truth, and we can read and decode them today while continuing to marvel at their beauty and poetry.
Ancient Texts and Pearl Creation
In a 6th-century Indian treatise, Rat-napariksa or Appreciation of Gems, written by a lapidary, we find the following text: "Sown in the sky, like the lunar Zodiac, the row of the great Asura’s teeth, of varied colors, of very pure form, touched in the waters of the Ocean. In every place of the sea where the splendid seed of this pearl, queen of gems, of high perfection, beautiful like the rays of the full moon, fell, there the water poured by the clouds enters the oysters, reaches the seed deposited there, and becomes a pearl." Similar echoes are found in an alchemical text by René François: "The Mother of Pearl is pregnant with gods and lives only from the celestial Nectar, to give birth to the silvery pearl, or pale, or yellowish according to the sun it receives and how pure the dew is. Thus, receiving the dew with gaping scales, it forms small grains that solidify, harden, and freeze; gradually, nature gives them polish with the help of the sun's rays, finally, they are oriental pearls..."
Imperfection and Timing in Pearl Creation
Imperfections in some pearls are explained here by the harmful intervention of thunder; perfection is linked to being born at the right time. In another text from the Middle Ages by Jean de Mandeville, he emphasizes the importance of the moment of birth: "She is condensed into gravel, on seashores and other rivers from the dew of the sky, just like a diamond and is made from said dew. If it is condensed in the morning and comes out pure and clear, then the pearls are white and clear. If the dew is condensed in the evening, it is not pure, the pearls are cloudy and poorly colored."
The Poetry and Myths of Pearls
Even in a modern novel, like Thomas Hardy's Tess d'Ubervilles, this poetic streak is observed: "The fog hung tiny wet diamonds on Tess's eyelashes and put drops on her hair similar to the seeds of pearls." Scientists may shrug and see nothing but fertile imagination compensating for ignorance of the facts. Supernatural explanation is only a historical substitute that has usurped logical observation of the process, due to the lack thereof.
Persian Legends and Humility
In Persian legend, the dewdrop becomes a raindrop fallen into the sea. "When the first drop of rain fell from the clouds into the great blue sea, very small and plaintive, it was rolled by the waves. 'I am tiny in this immensity!' it exclaimed. And the sea replied, 'Your modesty pleases me; I will make you, little water drop, a drop of light. You will be the purest jewel among the jewels, you will reign over the world, even over woman. And the pearl was born.'" A similar story with a slight variation reveals: "A drop of rain fell from the bosom of the clouds; seeing the immense sea, it despaired all confused. 'What am I,' it said, 'next to the Ocean? Truly I lose myself and disappear in its immensity!' As a reward for this modest admission, it was collected and nourished in the mother of pearl of a shell by the care of providence..."
Pearls: Illusions or Reflections of Another World?
Shepherd stories also confuse the pearl with the raindrop reflecting light. Children are told that where the rainbow touches the earth, a fairy deposits a magical pearl. Children run to find it as an optical effect creates the illusion of a pearl, but they only find dewdrops. Aren't we all children? Isn't the pearl there to give us an illusion - of beauty, perfection, wealth, glory; an illusion, or reflection of another world?