“ I got dis fo sissy dollars”, she said fingering the 10mm glowing black pearl pendant, attached to a long silver chain. “I got da setting by Mahina, in the little building by the police station you know? she sets pearls. She does good job.”
Scootering south along the Ara Tapu on the Island of Rarotonga with the lagoon on the left.
Bereft of plans or even a map, turned by the collapsing sign to see about snorkel gear for looking about in the lagoon.
An curly gray-haired, husky built man who was raking the orange carpet of fallen Flamboyant tree blooms, wordlessly waved us to the office with a pointed finger.
Inside, the dark concrete office had a feeling of a remnant with empty, save for some salt shakers, rusted metal baker’s shelves along one wall, a chair and a ripped box of yellowed paperbacks on another wall and an ancient weathered desk on the wall to our left as we entered.
Behind the desk sat a robust lady of dark chestnut luster with a round face, large twinkling dark eyes with a gold glow and a bare hint of a shy smile. Sticking straight up on the top of her head were many strands of kinky hair with the slightest hint of lime bleahed blonde. I inquired about hiring 2 snorkels. “Yeeah, we just have two”
“Eight dowllars a day”, she replied in a very soft hesitant voice.
I said we would like to have the two for two days. While she was computing the figures for this transaction, I commented on the alluring luster of her black pearl and she replied with the information on settings.
Black pearls are created in one of the remotest inhabited settings on earth. Their main origin, Manihiki, is a mere speck in the endless blue of the Pacific Ocean. The pearl, set with a silver crown of sorts mirrored the rainbow-like spectrum of colors found in the black-lipped mother of pearl shell Pinctada margaritifera. The darker hues of black, blue, green and brown are prominent, while lighter colors such as white, silver, grey and gold were also evident. Translucent, overlaying shades of aubergine gave it added depth and glow.
As the wearer of the pearl handed me the snorkel equipment I could see a deep luster in her eyes. As light reflects through the layers it exposes strengths and frailties alike. I feel a kinship with the dark lady and her dark pearl–a kindness moves through us and between us. The mystery is that being authentic is the only thing that reveals to us our kinship with alluring luster-the intense brightness created as light travels through the layers and is reflected back from deep within the pearl.
I left the pearls in the dark hut, exquisite in their settings.