Like most people I always thought the oyster was the main worker on nature’s undersea production line to bring us these ageless and much desired precious stones. A visit to Tenerife Pearl made me realise that the pearl comes in many sizes, locations and a sliding scale of quality and value. Man started to give nature a little nudge at the start of the 20th century, before that the oyster and some lesser known 100,000 other species of bi valve mollusc had managed quite nicely on their own. Friction, as the old saying goes, or a natural irritant encourages the oyster to produce layers of calcium carbonate and conchioline. The nudge comes from putting the core of a mussel shell into the body of an oyster.
The technical description hardly does justice to the beauty of these lovely baubles and at Tenerife Pearl they are crafted into necklaces, bracelets, rings, and a myriad of other ways to steal the show at any social event. Being naturally curious I tried to find the lowest and highest priced examples on offer. Younger visitors will no doubt be tempted by a 9.95 euro bracelet that includes a one euro donation to the Spanish Red Cross but the big spenders will soon seek out a white Australian pearl necklace holding centre stage in one of the glass cabinets at 14,000 euros.
Talking of Australia it’s one of four hot spots for pearl divers; Tahiti boasts dark pearls with colours like peacock or pistachio; Asia is known for pastel colours from the fresh water lakes, rivers, and ponds, and Japan is where cultured pearls were first farmed on a large scale. This background information is just the start of the story that unfolds at Tenerife Pearl, there is an interactive video screen in several languages, each display gives a full pedigree, and there are even free guided tours if you want to immerse yourself in knowledge.
Even towards the end of the most frugal holiday, a spending binge here might be a bit beyond the budget but there are plenty of price ranges to choose from. How about dipping your toe in gently, or at least the net provided at the Pick A Pearl tank. For 24.50 euros a scoop in the tank will pull out an oyster to be opened so the pearl can be cleaned, measured, graded for quality and valued. The lucky dip results in a pearl ranging from 25 euros in value to 194 euros, this can be kept with a certificate and small holder or mounted in a piece of jewelry for an extra charge. At the open work station just inside the showroom you can see pearls being beaded and mounted, they are very versatile.
The free bus service from Los Gigantes, Callao Salvaje, and Playa Paraiso runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays and if you are in Costa Adeje, Los Cristianos or Playa de las Americas the pick ups are on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and they allow you 90 minutes at the showroom before your return.
Tenerife Pearl, Carretera General del Sur 12, Armenime, Adeje; (0034) 922 741 250; open 9am to 8pm daily; admission free.
Category : shopping
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