Ch. 4: Sea and river pearls

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is secret, because of their smallness, and we have been unable to observe.
Pure is that Being Who has created everything and Great is He!
Sites for Diving
Places where the diver plunges in the sea in order to bring out pearls
are known as maghasat. These places are celebrated. It is towards these
places that victuals are delivered for the clients of the traders and wages
for the divers according to how far the site is and how long is the
duration which the diving would occupy.
These places not only have nacreous shells, but one can occasionally
get mahars as well while journeying between the coast and the sea, and
precious pearls can rarely be found in them. The Bahr-al-Akhdar is
specifically marked for this. Its depths and bays have celebrated
maghasat, e.g., in the deep of (the sea around) Serandib as the Persian
Gulf, and Bahrayn, Dihlak and Clysma, or as a new diving site which has
been recently discovered in Sifalah-i-Zanj. One's thought moves towards
the Sea of Sharghur which is to the north of China and is a branch of the
ocean too. The Mediterranean Sea is larger, but since it has parted company from the Bahr-i-Akhdar, it has been deprived of the nacreous shell.
I have not heard from anyone that pearls have been found in the Mediterranean Sea, but it may be that through further attempts they may be
found.
At times, however, there are lets and hindrances in diving. The Red
Sea, for instance,, has no site for diving, since it abounds in dangerous
animals, e.g., sharks and qursh.
It is because of this qursh that the Quraysh have received their name
as they used to eat it. Pearls are taken out from the Red Sea, from the
shells of dead animals after the waves have thrown them shorewards.
These shells become corrupt in water, putrefy under the sun and worms
grow within them. Prospectors find them in a dry state and see the shells
and the pearls within, eaten.
The same thing is true of the Sea of Sharghur. Pearls are taken from
shells whose animals are already dead. These shells are thrown towards
the shore and they are dried by the sun and air. This is why the pearls of
Qata'i are turbid, lustreless and leaden.
According to the persons who have brought these news, cold weather
and the great depth of the sea are obstructions for diving. The pearls,
therefore, found in these shells are not spherical and un-eaten. There is
little doubt that cold poses the greatest obstruction in diving, but the site
to the north which is comparatively less deep is not forbidding for diving
in summer.
The persons who have brought us these reports say that diving is interdicted by the depth of the sea, and the depth of the sea of Sharghur
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Ch. 4: Sea and river pearls Page of 375 Ch. 4: Sea and river pearls
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