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  1. #16
    perlas
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    If I'm not mistaken, I read somewhere that the pearl is estimated to be 600 years old. If such is the case, it can't be cultured as pearl culturing only started late 19th to early 20th centuries.

    Don't know though how long tridacna gigas could spew nacre to coat a huge nucleus.

    Besides, If the clam "got lost at sea", I can't imagine how the clam would reach the coast Palawan from China. These clams are huge and heavy!

  2. #17
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Hi Perlas

    Read the wikipedia article knotty cited back a few posts. That is the one with the story. I was just referring to it. The wiki article claimed it had been carbon dated to way back when 600 bpe.

    What I thought I was repeating from the wiki article was that apparently, the Chinese hid it off the coast of Palowan for political reasons. Apparently it was also transferred to larger and larger tridacna clams as it outgrew the smaller ones. Apparently it was also held in some kind of net and a strom broke it away and it was lost for centuries. Then it was found by a Phillipino diver in 1934.

    In general I am sceptical of most of the claims in the wiki, except that it was found off the coast of Palowan in 1934
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  3. #18
    Third-graft Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Raisondetre's Avatar
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    Carbon dating is actually very accurate because the half-life (rate of decay) of C-14 (radioactive isotope of carbon) is fixed. To a magnitude of years, that is. It does not change with being underwater.

    I'm skeptical of the Chinese claims. Seems that everyone wants a piece of the pearl. The story's interesting though.

  4. #19
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Well, one thing I have to agree upon is the reliability of the carbo-dating. And since pearls would be from an organic source, they certainly seem to be a good candidate. However, I am not sure what to think about the whole Lao-Tzu connection. I am actually surprised someone claims to be of direct descent. What wonderful record keepers. Although I am very skeptical. Mainly, I trust Wikipedia about as much as I trust ermm..better keep that thought to myself.

    Honestly, the thing disturbs me on a very visceral level. It just looks too similar to human organs for me to be comfortable with. I can't believe it is valued at $60 billion dollars.

  5. #20
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    Perlas: If the pearl is 600 years old, then it is cultured and the Lao Tzu story is true. Clams don't live 600 years. By the same token, clams don't live 200 years either so the story of storing the pearl in the clam that was lost for approx., 200 years doesn't check out either.

    I believe carbon dating is a faulty science and we'd need a whole 'nuther forum for that debate, so don't start me.
    Salem: Yes, many families keep very detailed lineage records. Not mine, mind you, but that doesn't shock me.

    Raisondetre: Actually, the Lee family isn't trying to get "a piece" of the pearl. They are merely providing it's history as a national treasure.

    Salem: "Mainly, I trust Wikipedia about as much as I trust ermm.." LOL Stop making me laugh!

    I still think it would be very easy to determine if it is natural or cultured. And why don't they claim it to be natural? Do they know something they aren't telling?

    But more importantly, why did I even pose the question! Grrrr, what's that saying ... "inquisitive minds want to know?"
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  6. #21
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Hi Knotty,

    No, I know many families have records. Mine has been traced back several hundred years, but Lao Tzu is believed to have been born between 600-300 B.C. I find it hard to think many families would have documented unbroken family lineages going back more than 2000 years. I mean, if they can only get his life narrowed down to a 300 year time range, there must be a lot of guess work going on. After all, 300 years would represent a lot of generations.

    PS Did you quess my trust issue? Private message me and I will let you know. heehee

    Whoohoo message 100

  7. #22
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    Salem: Of course I don't doubt your opinion of wiki. I truly did think your comment was funny and I wasn't being sarcastic at all.
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  8. #23
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Read the article more carefully....It says the pearl was carbon dated to 600 bc. That makes it a full 2,400 years old!. Now tell me ANYone believes this story! The Chinese were doing fabulous thing in 600 BPE, they even did business with Palowan way far back, according to authentic records, but until this one appears in ancient records, I don't believe there is any evidence that this thing was cultured in China and moved to the Phillipines for any reason. I do believe it grew right there where it was found and due to the size, it may be as old as it is possible for tridactnas to get.

    The reference given for the carbon dating is a more recent appraisal for Mr. Barbish. The appraisal does not give any documentation of any carbon dating, nor does any other reference in the article. The info from an unnamed carbon dating lab was referenced in the appraisal, but that is not good proof. I am currently trying to find references to the appraisor, I am not sure he is of the standing needed for claims of this nature.

    My question arose, not because I doubt the scientific value of carbon dating, but because I wanted to know how they got the material from the "pearl" for the carbon dating. Since pearls grow by adding successive layers, to get the date back to 600 BC would require a plug going to the center, such as they do in tree ring dating. I question that any one would be allowed to remove a plug from a pearl such as this. So I question that it was ever carbon dated at all.

    I think perlas has a good argument based on the longevity of tridacna clams. Also the claim that moving the pearl from clam to larger clam sounds silly as the clam grows along with the pearl. After a certain point, there would be no larger clams available, even if you could pry one open far enough to insert the object under discussion. This part of the story sounds like an urban legend. In fact the entire "spiritual" history sounds like it was confabulated to add to the reputation of an otherwise ghastly clam pearl.

    The is simply NO evidence of this pearl in historical texts, not until AFTER it was found in 1934.
    There is no evidence, including carbon dating, that this pearl is 2,400 years old.
    There is no evidence it was implanted in China and moved to the Philippines.

    I am just using my college critical thinking course. It's just logic. If any more facts about this pearl turn up, they would be welcome here.

    PS Flat coinlike Buddhas made of metal were inserted into, I believe it was freshwater mussels, and the resulting images were removed when they had a good coat of nacre. Thus the Chinese were the first on record to grow cultured pearls ca the 12 century and they did grow little buddhas. But why implant a quarter sized piece of metal into a tridactna in the first place? They don't evn produce nacreous pearls. This urban legend has more holes than than we already noticed.
    Last edited by Caitlin; 05-29-2007 at 05:21 PM.
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  9. #24
    Satine De La Courcel
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    I bet they do know something they aren't telling, mabe NOW clams do not live to be 600 years old but they lived a lot longer 600 years ago... flukes do happen.. Some of those biig clams have been dated to over 200 years old... So I am told...

    I do not think it is cultured. how come now its coming to light???? culturing had been about way before Minimoto he just stoile techniques from his kid se a precidence and made it popular.

    There is for sure a lot of secrets, legends and lore, secrets are kept I do not think we will ever really know the truth of it.. just for certain that it was found in 1934 by a Philipine pearl diver...

    Will be interesting to follow as things unravel.. the last thing I heard abotu that pearlwas osama bin laden secretly was tryin to buy it as a bribe gift for Saddam Hussein.. for 60,000,000 clams..... but who knows how true that is as well.

    still the lore continues.....


    Cheers
    Ash

  10. #25
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    http://www.pearlforpeace.org/ ?7

    "The Emperor T'ang T'ai Tsung returned … to visit Lee to not only thank the man who took him in and communicated the Pearl's message … but to have Lee's blessing for the selection of an artist to paint the great pearl. The aging Lee gave his permission and recommended a young artist. The resulting work was of such character that paper rubbings of the pearl became popular as New Year's greetings between friends and loved ones. One such rubbing, although of reduced quality due to age, has been preserved in the Li family archives." [Emphasis added.]

    The website quoted is the current owner’s website. If this were not true, why would they publish this information as fact? The rubbings must be of the pearl itself, as the article states, not of the painting of the pearl, and must be undeniable.

    Back to my original question – cultured? or am I missing something.
    Last edited by knotty panda; 05-29-2007 at 10:47 PM.
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  11. #26
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    LOL, Ash, you're a hoot! 60,000,000 clams! LOL.
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  12. #27
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    Actually, it's cultured. Sorry for the round about way of getting to that conclusion. Love all y'all!
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  13. #28
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    If this were not true, why would they publish this information as fact?
    The article on the pearl for peace foundation website has no references nor any provenance connecting the found pearl in the Philippines to the to the lost pearl of Lao Tsu. They say it is a legend in the first paragraph. And in almost every other paragraph they also refer to the "legend".

    At no point do they indicate when they are talking fact, and they have no evidence, so I conclude it is all legend.

    There was supposedly an authentication from the Museum of Modern History, but if it was a verbal authentication several decades ago, it is worthless as proof. They do not state what was authenticated, the fact that it is a tridacna gigos pearl? What else could be authenticated about it and how was it done? If it was a written authentication of some sort, it would be a valuable part of the pearl's provenance. Without documentation, it remains a legend.

    The part about the Li families' paper rubbing is more legend. They have not even shown there is such a family or persons named Lee or Li connected with the pearl. The name Lee or Li is like Smith or Jones in America I have seen no Chinese reference that there is actually an authentic Chinese legend concerning a giant tridacna clam pearl.

    Nothing on the wiki website or the pearl of heaven website is backed by facts. All that remains is an unattractive tradacna clam pearl with a bunch of hype being whipped up on the website and a wikipedia article. I examined both articles before my last post. Nothing meets even a high school level of referencing. All references are to or from each of the other articles! There are no peer reviewed articles, for instance, no appraisal by a big time outfit as would befit such a pearl.

    There never was a headline about its carbon dated age, which there should have been if it were so old!

    I say it is natural and grew in an especially large tridacna, supposedly 160 lbs, near Palowan.
    Last edited by Caitlin; 05-30-2007 at 12:11 AM.
    Caitlin

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  14. #29
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by knotty panda
    Salem: Of course I don't doubt your opinion of wiki. I truly did think your comment was funny and I wasn't being sarcastic at all.
    LOl, sorry Knotty. I think you misunderstood me. I didn't think you were being sarcastic at all. I was happy you laughed. I was just wondering if you knew who I was comparing Wiki too. I was just(perhaps lamely) trying to continue the joke and have you quess my edited comparison. Sorry for the confusion

  15. #30
    Pearl Knotting & Wire Expert Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert knotty panda's Avatar
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    Oh Salem! I totally got it! That's why I was laughing so hard. The comparison of ... well, we shan't bash, now shall we! It does kind of miff me that Wiki went and ruined their rep, though. I like that their information is up-to-the minute. "This just in ... so-and-so just sneezed!"
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