Exploring Laad Bazaar

The Laad Bazzar or the Bangle Street was loud and bustling. We found hundreds of pearl jewellery shops along the narrow streets, besides cloth shops, bangle sellers, food emporiums, costume makers, booksellers, artisans, and what not almost one can imagine.

We went to check out bangles at a shop and found a variety of bangles, some ranging from as less as Rs 50 and going beyond even Rs 5,000. We were astonished to see the exquisite range of lac and glass bangles in the shop.

We wanted to see pearl shops. We wanted to know the difference of genuine and fake pearls. We went to a shop looking out for a pair of ear rings and asked the shop owner about the difference between the genuine and fake pearls.

Oysters are bivalves. The shell’s valves are held together by an elastic ligament. This ligament is positioned where the valves come together, and usually keeps the valves open so that an oyster can eat.

As the oyster grows in size, its shell also grows. The mantle is an organ that produces the oyster’s shell, using minerals from the oyster’s food. The material created by the mantle is called nacre. Nacre lines the inside of the shell.

The formation of a natural pearl begins when a foreign substance slips into the oyster between the mantle and the shell, which irritates the mantle. The oyster’s natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of the same nacre substance that is used to create the shell. This eventually forms a pearl.

So a pearl is a foreign substance covered with layers of nacre.

Pearls come in a variety of colorrs, including white, black, gray, red, blue and green. Most pearls can be found all over the world, but black pearls are indigenous to the South Pacific.

Cultured pearls are created by the same process as natural pearls, but are given a slight nudge by pearl harvesters. To create a cultured pearl, the harvester opens the oyster shell and cuts a small slit in the mantle tissue. Small irritants are then inserted under the mantle.

In freshwater cultured pearls, cutting the mantle is enough to induce the nacre secretion that produces a pearl — an irritant doesn’t have to be inserted.

While cultured and natural pearls are considered to be of equal quality, cultured pearls are generally less expensive because they aren’t as rare.

Most pearls are treated or enhanced in one way or another. Saltwater cultured pearls are bleached to even out body colour and non-nucleated freshwater pearls will become whiter if they are soaked in a bleach solution or heated for a period of 2-10 hours.

But how to distinusih the fake ones from the genuine ones?

Imitation pearls bear the slightest resemblance to a natural or cultured pearl. There are mainly three types of imitation pearls — mother of pearl, solid glass beads and wax-filled glass beads. To make them more realistic, they are dipped into a solution called essence d’orient.

Detecting imitation pearls is not a difficult procedure because solid glass beads are much heavier than either natural or cultured pearls, plastic beads are too light, imitation pearls are too perfectly shaped and they feel smooth when drawn against the teeth.

Six important qualities to note:
1. Luster: Look at the clarity of images that are reflected in the pearl’s surface. The closer to a mirror image you see, the better the luster. Pearls with fine luster also seem to glow warmly from within.

2. Size: The size is measured by its diameter, and ranges from 8mm to the rare 18mm. The larger the pearl, the rarer it is.

3. Shape: The rounder a pearl is, the rarer and more valuable it is.

4. Surface: The more flawless the surface of the pearl is, the higher it will be valued. However, a flawless pearl only comes about once in about every million, as pearls are the result of a natural process, and an oyster will usually leave some sort of unique mark on the finished pearl.

5. Colour: Colour has little influence on the actual value of a pearl. The rarest and most desired are the white “rose” colored pearls.

6. Weight: The weight of a pearl is not always provided. Pearls are usually measured in carats.

After getting the required knowledge we started looking out for some good pearl ear studs in shops.

Later, we went to a cloth shop to buy churidhar pieces and we were unsuccessful in bargaining. For they easily made out that we were not locals and quoted a pretty high price. We found the material not worth of the amount and left the place.

With the little gyaan we acquired on pearls, we bought two pairs of beautiful ear rings at a pearl shop.

When we reached home after a tiring day, a surprise awaited me.

Keerti, Gayatri and me

I was welcomed by the kids with a birthday cake.

Little Nidhi was eager to celebrate the occasion and it was like a small fest at home.

Nidhi

Most, surprising was the birthday greeting card with a handwritten drawing by Gayatri, Keerti and Nidhi.

Gayatri, me and Nidhi

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