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Buying Natural Pearls

5 or 10 years ago my brother-in-law was in Bahrain and decided to buy some natural pearls. He went to the gold souq area, asked around and was directed to an office on a side street, where an old man was sitting in a plain room behind a desk. When my brother-in-law told him what he was looking for, the old man went to a safe, pulled out a cloth bag and opened it up to display hundreds of natural pearls. He was apparently in his 80s and said that when he was younger he would go out in a boat to buy pearls from the divers; he was very helpful explaining the differences in quality between the various types of pearls. Has anyone had any experiences like this? Is there any pearling still going on in Bahrain or is it just a hub for other areas? Can you buy natural pearls from something close to the source, instead of from a jeweler? And how do the prices compare? Thanks for your time and consideration!

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