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Pearls and Shells: Gifts from the Sea

 

The South China Sea is home to thousands of species including corals, tiger shells, luminous shells, clamshells, horned helmets, nautilus, bull's-mouth helmets , trumpet tritons, and many, many more. The red coral , nautilus, giant clam, horned helmet, stony coral, and sea fan coral are all nationally protected species. It is illegal to sell these, or any products made from them. Look, but don't touch!

 

 

What can you take home? Hainan teems with pearl oysters, and this is a great place to get a good deal. Don't be fooled though, make sure you get real ones! Real pearls are very easy to identify: when two pearls rub together, the rough ones are real, while the ones that remain completely smooth are fake. Real pearls are very rarely perfectly round with no irregularities. If the whole string of pearls are identical and perfectly round? Whoops, almost certainly not real! The quality of pearls is based on age, size, shape, color, and tone, and that requires expert identification. Generally speaking, seawater pearls are more rounded, but freshwater pearls are oval or have a groove in the middle. Hainan does not produce fresh water pearls, only seawater pearls. There are some well-known brands of Hainan pearls, such as Genuine Pearl, and Heren Pearl. Both of these are reputable sellers that have won national and international awards. Happy shopping!

Updated: 1/29/16

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