Pearls for a girl.

Also guest blogging at Backseat Radio: A Review: “Riceboy Sleeps” by Jonsi & Alex.


At the end of the line, located diagonally from the farmers’ market along Jalan OKK Awang Besar is the Labuan weekend bazaar. Relatively smaller than the weekend markets (or perhaps any kinds of weekend bazaars available in Malaysia), the bazaar sells everything and anything you need to get souvenirs and gifts for your friends and family back home. From tacky Labuan map T-shirts, to cheap ukulele toys, to footwear with questionable durability, to locally made decorative ornaments.

If you want me to be honest, you are better off splurging on duty free vices than swing by this place. But there is just one thing at this bazaar that can be the only reason that will make your trip there worthwhile – pearls.

Not a lot of people know this, but genuine pearls shipped in from Hong Kong are cheap in Labuan. From RM15 charm bracelets to RM150 gem-complemented necklaces, Alli Handicraft Enterprise has a whole wall of selections for you to choose from. Whether you would like to get accessories in black or white pearls, beautifully simple or extravagantly complicated necklaces, something for your mother or your girlfriend, Alli has them all.

At first, I was doubtful. We are talking about genuine pearls sold in shacked up stores along what could probably be passed off as back alleys in Labuan. There are no proper packaging with one of those velvety jewllery boxes; just those in dusty cardboard boxes and plastic bags you get upon purchasing pirated DVDs. Forgive me if I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the RM15 bracelet I am looking at is actually for shizzle.

But as we lingered on in the store, and the store owner, Raja, got to talking, I came to believe him. Well, kind of. He could easily be passed off as a darn good salesman with his flailing hands and confident voice.

We learned a few things from him on how to differentiate genuine pearls from fake ones. Observe.

When you scratch the surface of a real pearl, it will create powdery substances. You will see scratch lines on the fake ones instead.

When you take a bite on the real one (I don’t know why anyone would do that, but oh well), it has the texture of a rough surface. Fake ones will have perfectly smooth surface.

Real pearls are a little out of shape. Fake pearls are flawlessly round in shape.

Raja also did some demonstrations for us to see, so I guess he is telling the truth. Besides, RM15 for a pearl bracelet. Why not? It is pretty and I am a girl. Heh.

So, why fork out ten times the price of the same accessories when you buy in Kuala Lumpur, when you can get such dirt cheap offers in Labuan? So, if you ever make your way to Labuan someday, look out for stores selling pearls, especially Alli Handicraft Enterprise at the Labuan weekend bazaar and another outlet at the Financial Park Complex in the town centre. Open Mondays to Sundays from 8AM till 5.45PM.

Even if you don’t like pearls, buy them back anyway to have the last laugh at your friends who bought theirs by the hundreds.


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One Response to “Pearls for a girl.”

  1. Junnie Says:

    Heh. why never buy me some pearls from Labuan. I am a girl too. 🙂

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