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The pearl industry has been hit harder than the car industry. Consumers worldwide are holding back on luxury purchases. Plus, sudden rises in water temperature are lethal for pearl oysters. Pearl cult

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Yoshihiro Shimizu, president of the Kobe-based Japan Pearl Exporters' Association, describing the troubles facing the industry. Worldwide sales decreased by more than 50% in 2008 (Yomiuri Shimbun)

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Pearls are beautiful but they are difficult to look after. They get easily scratched if you forget to separate them from the rest of your jewellery. They are also fragile and can get damaged by components of face creams and cosmetics.

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Pearls; cultivating has taken away much of the mystery surrounding the pearl. Few people have the patience to understand the allure of days before. A case of less was more. A great lesson for generations to come. For what it is worth, I prefer the old days regarding the "pearl".

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