Pearl Diving In the Gulf Of Arabia
For lots of of years, pearls originating from the Arabian Gulf have been recognized as one of the worlds’ best gemstones. In the mid 1800’s, the lion’s share of the inhabitants surrounding the Arabian Gulf were not directly linked to the native pearl trade. The core of the Gulf’s pearl industry was positioned on the island of Bahrain: “Gulf fisheries make use of about three,500 boats, giant and small, of which 1,200 of one of the best are owned at Bahrain…” (The Ebook of the Pearl: G.F. Kunz 1908). A typical crew on a Bahrainian boat, known as a ‘Dhow’ or ‘Sambuk,’ that fished for pearl oysters included:
o The ‘Nokhadha’ (Captain): The captain was normally the proprietor of the boat, an expert fisherman with knowledge of all waters and the perfect pearling banks.
o The ‘Al-Mejaddimi’ (Second-In-Command): Accountable for sustaining the captain’s rule.
o The ‘Al-Musally’ (Prayer Chief): A religious determine, similar to a chaplain in the military.
o The ‘Nahham’ (Singer): In charge of singing pearling songs and chants to maintain the crew’s spirits up and to deliver luck.
o The ‘Saib’ (Diver’s Top-Man): Performing a important job, they stayed top-facet monitoring the lifeline attached between boat and diver.
o The ‘Tabbabah’ (Apprentice): Deck hands who carried out all manner of tasks at different crew member’s behest.
o The ‘Ghawwas’ (pearl diver).
The life of a Bahranian pearl diver was harsh. Even earlier than leaving house for the pearling season between April and September, most pearl divers were already in debt; pressured to borrow money from their captains to make sure their households survival while they were away diving. Even when their dives have been fruitful and the harvest excessive, thus effacing their debts, the diver’s still needed to weather the next six months till the diving season began again. All the crew’s existence on board was frugal to say the least; residing off a weight-reduction plan of dates, fish, rice and espresso. Nevertheless, it was the divers who suffered most; other than overexertion and malnourishment, they confronted the day by day menace of shark attack, and lengthy-time period neural diseases brought on by inadequate supplies of oxygen to the mind throughout prolonged submergences.
The diving strategies employed on these boats had remained rudimentary, unchanged since diving for pearls had first began. As soon as moored off the oyster beds, every thing revolved across the ‘Ghawwas’ and their ‘Saib.’ A ‘Saib’ actually held the diver’s life in his palms, for if he did not pull the diver up quick sufficient, the diver would drown. The ‘Ghawwas’ dove in 15 minute shifts, and in that time made not less than eight visits to the sea bed thirty to forty ft down. They sank to bottom helped by a rope weighted with a stone, sporting a nostril clip referred to as a ‘Fetatn,’ leather-based gloves known as a ‘Khabat’ to guard in opposition to sharp coral and a ‘Dayyeen’ net basket hung round their neck. After the divers resurfaced the oysters have been piled on deck, left to dry out and opened; whether or not or not the oysters contained pearls was a matter of pure probability. Up to an entire week, and 1000’s of oysters, could move by way of the crew’s palms with out a single pearl being found. Then once more, a number of hours of diving may outcome within the mother-load. However and every time they came to the floor the pearls, referred to as ‘Lulu,’ at all times ended up in the captain’s purple cloth pouch.
The captain would cash in his pearl harvest with the native ‘Tawwash,’ or pearl seller, who would go to the boat to buy the pearls and then resell onto larger merchants. As soon as the captain had obtained the money, he paid every crew member in response to their hierarchy, the most important share going to the captain and the boat. Arabian dialects used across the Gulf number a wide range of phrases for stone island bubble coat sale pearl: ‘Lulu’, ‘Dana’, ‘Hussah’, ‘Gumashah.’ Then there are the names to explain a pearl’s shape and shade: ‘Sujani’, pear-shaped drop; ‘Khaizi,’ excessive domed higher half with a half rounded backside; ‘Adasi,’ rounded cylinder with flat sides and ‘Majhoolah,’ a big ugly pearl that may conceal a finer pearl inside. Extraordinary expertise and tolerance was wanted to take away the skinny layers of a ‘Majhoolah:’ a process that might take weeks. Of all of the pearls that a crew hoped to see was the ‘Jiwan,’ that means younger, which was the right rose-tinted white, round pearl with pure luster. Gulf pearls had been, and still are to today, sorted and graded using a sequence of sieves called ‘Gurbaai.’ Pearls are weighed using an historic complicated unit of weight called a ‘Chow,’ one carat equals zero.6518 ‘Chow.’
The shopping for of pearls typically revolved round a system of silent bidding, where a supplier who doesn’t need others current to know what worth he is offering, will cover his and his client’s clasped hands with a cloth indicating the quantity with a system of finger alerts. From Bahrain, the pearls were sold to Indian merchants, who despatched them to Bombay to be drilled by hand. From there the pearls were offered to Europeans, whose thirst for Arabian Gulf pearls was unquenchable.