Characters of Sanur: Dr Pearl

Although never a pearl wearer in the past, having my fashion sense indelibly carved out during the height of the hippy era, I now don a set of these freshwater pearls, grey in colour and discreet in size,  grown somewhere in the waters of Lombok and sold to me by Dr Pearl.

Dr Pearl of Sanur via Lombok
Dr Pearl of Sanur via Lombok

Dr Pearl is one of those characters who wanders up and down the sandy beach of Sanur, Bali. Commerce is fairly low-key in Sanur and so a travelling beach salesman is not entirely unwelcome, even if the senses are more keenly fastened on a cold Bintang beer with a grilled Mahi Mahi fish steak or passing the time aimlessy gazing at the distant view of Nusa Penida across the water. Barefooted and small of stature, he appears out of the blue, double knotting as he talks, reaching into his small bags of freshwater pearls, strong cotton in hand, twisting, knotting, adding a pearl, and knotting anew. He is a keen salesman and negotiations might take place over a day or a week. He always knows your travel movements and so is not in a hurry to finalise the deal.

Dr Pearl, grey or white?
Dr Pearl, grey or white?

He remembers you from year to year, and greets you like an old friend. I always buy exactly the same necklace, in the same colour, each time. His recollection of the price I paid last time, however, is always much higher than mine. His wife and four children live in Lombok, which is not so far by hydrofoil for the average cashed up tourist, but far enough by the old slow boat for the locals. Dr Pearl returns home only a few times a year: his life is firmly entrenched in this small strip of Sanur Beach. If you see Doctor Pearl, give him a chance. He knows when you aren’t interested but always recognises the glint of desire in a woman’s eye.

Dr Pearls table of treasure
Dr Pearl’s table of treasure

For Rosalie and Helen, accomplice and witmess to pearl purchasing.

17 thoughts on “Characters of Sanur: Dr Pearl”

  1. I tried knotting pearls a few times and it is tricky. But if you specialise in it, as does Dr. Pearl, I can see one could get very adept at it. Nice, personal story. I’m not generally a pearl wearer either, though I do have an interesting freshwater pearl necklace made on a length of soft grey suede cord and it simply lays one end over the other and hangs loosely around the neck. Thank you, Francesca.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, it isn’t. I don’t wear much jewellery and most of what I do wear isn’t my own. Terrible admission. It’s not that I don’t like what I make, I just don’t wear much jewellery. I honestly think a lot of the reason is the heat. I don’t want anything around my neck in the hot weather, which by the way it is filthy hot and even a bit humid here today!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the idea of adding a strand each year. I have pearl drop earrings from Broome which I treasure and a necklace with snakeskin jasper, onyx & freshwater pearls, as well as ’80’s pearl studs.

    Liked by 1 person

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