Having described pure pearls, Nasr has also described other pearls; one of
which is tin-like in colour. Some possess pale, white colours. These are
designated as the tabni (straw-like) kind. Some are sun-like (crimson) in
colour: these varieties are known as the yasmin (jasmine) and samin. The
Shir jam kinds are milky in colour. These colours are assumed by the
pearl while it is in the shell provided that there is less water and the
action of the sun upon them is more effe ctive. The colour of the face
and body of man is likely to be tanned by heat; the same thing is true of
the pearl. A pearl of different hue is found in the sea around Serandib.
It is reddish-white in colour and is called wardi. I have seen many pearls
which were copper-coloured.
Among the inferior pearls, Nasr has mentioned a kind known as
sharabah. Both layers of this grain are prominent, and, therefore, air
enters them, drying them up in the process. When it is dipped in water,
both its layers coalesce with each other. But such pearls are adulterated.
Air affects both pearls, and they separate from each other. The deception becomes manifest. Among pearl-like jewels, Nasr has mentioned a
kind known as shibh. It has a thin peel, with earth inside. It is not
stable, and spoils after some time. The kind whose whiteness has a little
of reddishness is called warq. It is also not stable.
Al-Kindi has given the name kurwush to one of the pearl-like grains.
It has only one skin which is watery, and has blackish layers. On perforation it lets out water. The space left by water is filled with gum
The Prices of Pearls
Pearls are weighed by mithqals and priced by Nishapuri dinars. The
oval nature of pearls is determined through comparison with the pearls
known as najm and 'uyun.
Razi brothers write:
One mithqal of the najm costs a thousand dinars. The price of fivesixth mithqal of this kind fetches 800 dinars, while two-thirds
mithqal of the same kind is priced at 500 dinars; whereas half a
mithqal costs 200 dinars; one-third mithqal 50 dinars; one-fourth
mithqal 20 dinars; one-sixth mithqal 5 dinars; one-eighth mithqal 3
dinars; and one-half of one-sixth mithqal one dinar. The price of the
ghulami pearl is one-half of the najm.
Al-Kindi has said that an equivalent weight of the Kha'idanah kind is
one-half the price of the spherical kind, while the price of Muzannar
variety is one-twentieth of an equivalent weight of the spherical kind.
According to Al-Kindi, stones similar in form to pearls are priced at ten
dinars per mithqal.
The price of the perfect najm is less in 'Umman and Bahrayn. Razi