HISTORY OF HYDERABAD PEARLSThe Pearl is one of nature's many miracles. While other gemstones are minerals produced from the earth, the pearl is a mineral created from life itself, a marine jewel. One of five precious jewel in the world , the other four being the sapphire, the ruby, the diamond and the emerald- the pearl is the oldest of all gems and has been used as an adornment for about 6000 years. Its luster and lucidity of color has not only made it a symbol of purity but also one of the most sought after jewels. This natures' miracle is formed as a reaction to the intrusion of foreign body- by oyster type, shelled sea molluscs, some fresh water mussels and in some rare cases by snails. Pearls do not require any sought of processing where it displays the full luster in their natural state. Ranging from a size of coin head to that of a pigeon's egg, pearls can be acquired in many colors like pale pink, white, pale yellow, grey, and cream.
PEARL IS ALSO AVAILABLE IN VARYING SIZES AND SHAPES-Pearl is also available in varying sizes and shapes. The largest pearl ever found weighs 1800 Gms and is housed in the South Kensington Geological Museum in London. The Pope pearl owned by the banker, Henry Pope, is another pearl that is considered amongst the largest in the world. This ultra giant, drop shaped pearl weighs 450 karats and is about 50.8 meters long. In India the city of Hyderabad has always been associated with pearls and is also popularly known as the city of pearls. But India has traditionally has never been a pearl producing region. However it must be stressed that contrary to popular notion, India's main pearl centre is not Hyderabad but Mumbai. Mentions of pearl have been made during the Nizams of Hyderabad who had led a very opulent lifestyle. It was after Ram Dutt Malji who was a Haryanvi pearl trader because of talent became a royal jeweler.
THE FIRST EVER PEARL SHOP IN PATTHARGATTI-His son, Seth Kedarnathji Motiwale, opened the first ever pearl shop in Patthargatti way back in 1906. Initially, the trade in pearls depended on the pearls coming from the Persian Gulf. There are two types of pearl namely the real and the cultured. Once the making of the pearl is over it is separated as per the shape. The artisans who are employed are highly skilled. In the drilling process, the drill is either done horizontally or vertically. After the processing of drilling, the pearls are graded depending upon their sheen, glaze, shape, size, luster and uniformity. Pearls are used in the manufacture of number of accessories which include bracelets, Kundan sets and enameled sets, Satlads (seven strand pearl, set with precious stones), lacchas, chand bali (a moon shaped ear-ring), chokers, rassi (a chain set in the form of rope) chatai (a mat type chain, ear rings and rings), hath phool (for the fingers and the wrist), vaddenam (waist belt) and Tanmani.
PEARL TRADING WAS GREATLY FAVORED BY THE NIZAMS
-Pearl trading was greatly favored by the Nizams and the Qutb Shahi rulers who had lot of affinity for pearls. It even went to the extent that the pearl was not adorned by the kings and queens on their robes studded along with diamonds but also they crushed the pearls and applied it on the body as part of enhancing their beauty. Pearls also played a major role for the aphrodisiacs. The princely state and the royal patronage ensured flourishing of arts, crafts involving pearl. The wealthy life style of the royal people also made them bring craftsman from all over the world and they were engaged in making exquisite pearl jewellery. In ancient days pearls mainly used to come from Basra in Persian Gulf where wanderers come with their wares of specified type. The future of the mariners was bright with their rich, indolent patrons, and settled down in Hyderabad.
LOTS OF SKILLED LABOR IN HYDERABAD MARKET-There are lots of skilled labors in Hyderabad market who do excellent skilled job in hand drilling and has passed on for generations this technique. Hyderabad is a one stop destination for pearls. The country meets its demand for pearls with imports from Hong Kong, Japan and China. Natural pearls are imported from Japan and are priced at Rs. 50 to Rs 5000 per gram. Cultured pearls, for which there is a huge demand, are produced in great abundance by China and Japan through their advanced pearl farming technology. Today cultured pearls amount to 90% of the total pearl trade. The most expensive cultured pearl sells at Rs. 1,000 per gram in India. A reliable method of differentiating between a cultured pearl and a natural pearl is to examine each pearl's inner structure. A natural pearl has a concentrically layered configuration whereas the inner structure of the cultured pearl varies according to the type of the bead. As is the case with all valuable gems there are a large number of imitations available.
PEARLS ARE SAID TO HAVE THERAPEUTIC VALUES
Pearls are said to have lot of therapeutic values. The principle behind pearl culturing is simple. Man causes the mollusc to produce a pearl by the insertion of a foreign body. In China as early as the 13th century, small figures of Lord Buddha were fixed to the inner wall of molusc shell so that they would be covered with pearl material. The typical pearly luster also called "Orient" is produced by overlapping platelets of aragonite and skins of pearl protein, near the surface of the pearl.
The color of the pearl varies according to the variety of the mollusc as well as the type of water. If the pearl protein known as conchiolin is irregularly distributed, the pearl becomes very spotty. As pearl protein in an organic substance it tends to change specially when dehydrated leading to what is termed as ageing. But pearls are not valuable for their beauty alone. They also have a therapeutic value. Pearls possess approximately five percent protein and are the purest form of calcium. Some decades ago, calcium medical products were successfully developed with the help of the pearl protein conchiolin.
TRADITIONAL INDIAN MEDICINE RECOMMENDS MOTI PISTI (GROUND PEARLS)-Doctors practicing traditional Indian medicine recommend moti pisti (ground pearls) to be eaten with honey for a long and healthy life. Calcium derived from pearls is said to prevent the hardening of arteries, high blood pressure and stress. As a cosmetic, it helps to maintain skin moisture and adjusts skin's alkali and acid balance. Seventy percent of all pearls are strung and worn as necklaces which are made up of either matched or graded pearls. In any event whether it is necklace or a pair of ear rings, a ring or a bracelet you are buying, pearls make a beautiful investment. So do make sure that the pearls you chose blend beauty, quality and price to give you an attractive ornament that will be a joy forever. The semi-cultured pearls are the artificial pearls and are machine made. It is best to string pearls on nylon or a silk thread as time tends to wear them out.
PEARLS ARE SAID TO SYMBOLIZE THE MOON-Pearls are said to symbolize the moon and thereby influencing a person's emotions, mind and fortune. Apart from these factors pearls are also said to bring pleasing consonance and steadiness. Pearls are said to signify the purity of love; and almost until World War II, a pearl engagement ring was given as a pledge of love. It is believed from history that the great beauty Cleopatra, to enhance her beauty used to eat crushed pearls in her daily meals. The pearl market of Hyderabad is known for its grandeur. Jewelers here have for centuries combined pearls with the glitter of gold, rubies and emeralds. Various innovative ornaments were designed using pearl. During the last few decades there has been a gradual influence of western designs on the Hyderabad pearl market.
HYDERABAD - THE LARGEST TRADING CENTRE FOR PEARL
-Hyderabad is supposed to be the largest trading centre for pearl in India and in fact celebrated as one of the biggest pearl trading across the globe. Patther Gatti and Lad bazaar are the oldest commercial areas in the twin cities where pearls can be transacted. Some pearl stores present here are more than a century old. Every nook and corner in Hyderabad has a Pearl shop. But however getting the quality one and taking the affordability in account, the prime places for pearl trading are Pattargatti and Laad bazaar which stand as the best choices and pearls are also available in markets like Basheerbagh and General Bazaar. Swati pearls and Jewelers in Hyderabad is a very noted shop for its quality and the craftsmanship for they come out with unique designs and patterns.
MOST OF THE PEARL SHOPS IN HYDERABAD ARE QUITE COMPETENT-Most of the pearl shops in Hyderabad are quite competent because of in- house manufacture and designs are popular on account of taking valuable inputs and trends from customers across their outlets. Any pearl jewelery is not supposed to be kept in an airtight environment as they need to breathe. Pears are best kept in separate pouches so that they don't get scratched. Exposure to perspiration dims the luster of pearls, so wipe them with a soft, dry cloth after every use. Never use jewel cleaner on pearls.