On a trip through China with my family in 2008, as part of a tour of Shanghai we visted the Jin Mao Tower (at the time the sixth tallest building in the world). Our tower entry tickets rather bizarrely entitled us to a free pearl each at the top of the tower (don’t ask, I still don’t know!), so we wandered past many vendors of tourist tat, and found a counter where a girl whisked out some big flat oysters, popped them open with a pair of pliers and a screwdriver, and offered us a choice of pearls!
We each chose one, and I held onto them for some time, then decided to set them in a ring so that I could enjoy them.
The top of the ring is reticulated – a method that involves heating a sheet of silver to almost melting point, so the surface becomes textured. Fun stuff!
As another addition to my family was on the way at the time, my very kind teacher Sue, gave me a little seed pearl to set in the top of the ring along with the other three. I treasure this ring, and still wear it today!