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My stories, adventures and thoughts as I experience the world. Little encounters in life that changed my perspective and the way I value people and material things around me.


One of the highlights of my time in the Jewelry Trade is being able to travel to gem sources. These are privately owned mines and farms that most people would never get to experience. And I was so fortunate to be able share some of it!

This trip happened last year in late 2019, but it has been one of the highlights of my career so I thought I should share it here in my new blog.

Sometime in October 2019, I made the trip to Bali Indonesia, in the northern side of the island called Menjangan. In this coast, South Sea Pearl farms operate in the middle of the waters to grow the large yellow or white pearls we commonly see. Just a brief on pearls, these are the common types of pearls you will commonly come across:

  1. Freshwater Pearls, these are small pearls that are commonly dyed in all colours. They are mostly grown in China in freshwater mollusks. Each of these mollusks produce an average of 40 pears. Due to large supply, these are the most inexpensive mass-market pearls that you will see around.

  2. South Sea Pearls are grown in the coasts of Philippines, Australia and Indonesia. Pearls usually grow up to 25mm in dimeter, with some even reaching 30mm. These pearls are pricey as they take time to grow and each mollusk can only produce 1 pearl at a time.

  3. Tahitian Pearls are very similar to South Sea Pearls except that they are grown in Polynesia and produces black/grey pearls.

  4. Akoya Pearls, are small in size but are known for their incredibly sharp lustre and pink hues. They are grown in Japan where it was first cultivated by #MIKIMOTO. Each mollusk fits about 3-4 pearls and they are relatively expensive.

  5. Rare Pearls includes the Conch, Clam, Melo etc.

In my trip to the South Sea Pearl farm, we saw the process of harvesting and growing these pearls. A detailed recount of my journey can be found on Moltenore's site here. Nevertheless, here are some snippets of my adventure.

In a nutshell, the order of oyster growth:

  1. Pearl Nursery where oysters are grown and can only be seen under a microscope when they are a few days old

  2. Grown in tanks for the next few months where they are fed an algae mixture. Every speck of dust in the tank is a growing oyster

  3. They are then moved into the waters in nets

  4. After a year, they are taken up to be cleaned of barnacles from their shells

  5. Later they are then nucleated with their first shell bead and tissue to incite the pearl growing process

  6. Two years later, the oysters are harvested for their pearls and a new shell bead is inserted to grow another pearl

  7. Oysters can be harvested for a few rounds before they reach their shelf life. If so, they are then cook and cleaned where their shells are sold

Here's me harvesting a pearl out of the oyster!

I want to share this personal story, because I see many people around me experiencing the feeling of never being good enough. This was something that I grew to live with for the past 25 years and was only recently that I finally stepped out of it. If you feel it too, I don't think there's a deliberate way to snap out of it. However, I believe your moment will come too, probably in the most unexpected way...

Growing up with this...

I've had people complimenting me, but that was never enough because deep down I didn't feel that way. I never saw what they saw in me. And I certainly didn't believe myself to be more than what I thought I was. I saw myself as something stupid and inadequate.

No matter how great your external environment is, you will always feel crappy if you're internal being was a piece of mess.

For the most part of my life, I didn't have an opinion. Even if I had one...I would doubt myself if someone said a contrasting comment. In school I never said much, I was always the wallflower. Looking back, I didn't have much friends from my teens.


I didn't feel better when others said something nice about me, but I always felt unreasonably horrible when a negative thing was said.

I seek validation from those around me, because that's how I adapted to live with myself. I let other's opinion determine my self worth.

The moment I snapped...

It was a normal day, I had two client meetings - first one was a high net worth client where I packed my expensive jewellery to show her, the other a large company that I regularly supply gems in bulk to. After my first client, I went to meet the second at her office.

It went as usual, signed the invoices, handover the goods. I maintain good friendly relations with all my clients and occasionally we talk about our experiences and hobbies or new goods. So I asked her, I am carrying a box of extremely high value jewellery, these are pieces that you can only find with private collectors and auction houses, do you want to see them?

She was so excited! She marveled in awe as I took them out...

Five minutes later, her colleague walked by and she waved at her to come that a look. This other lady has worked in the company for a long time and would have been very familiar in the jewellery trade even though she was in the manufacturing. But when she saw it, all she commented was about the design. Some could use a few more diamonds, and there was a stone 'that was dull'. That stone was an Alexandrite, they don't exist in bright colours... She took a brief look and walked away.

The box in front of her was worth more than 3 million! That was more than what she would ever make in her lifetime. She did not recognize it and could only comment on the most superficial thing; design. I had a huge awakening at that moment. I wasn't angry, but now I felt sorry, that she could never see more than what she believed. And then sorry for myself, that I never saw the same value in myself.

Even if they seem to be professionals at it, or wiser by virtue of their age, often they don't know better. And it's important to know who's judgement you should take into account of.

There is a famous meme going around at how a grandfather told his grandchild to take his antique watch to the pawnshop and then to a vintage collector. The pawn shop valued it cheap at $20, then the vintage collector at $200,000. I've read that a few times and it was meaningful, but it didn't fully resonate with me until this encounter.

Since then, I've been reflecting on certain events in my life, little knots in my heart that I now try to untangle. Now I'm actually really proud to say that I no longer seek the validation of others, and do not need their attention to feel loved. It's a really wholesome feeling.

Also looking back, now I realize I used to condemn myself so unnecessarily as if I was the problem when things didn't work out...

I used to think maybe I did something wrong. I've always tried to be nice to people even though I never expected anything in return. I've been cheated, betrayed, taken advantaged by people I used to call my best friends - and I really ask myself why. Why me?

People don't have to be nice to me, just don't be nasty. Even neutral/indifferent is fine. But now with self love, I learnt to cut these people out, permanently.

It's really not always my fault. Some people are just shit, no matter how good they are. It's difficult to identify this toxicity in a person, but trust your gut. And what can we expect from shit? Foul smelling, shit particles that will stick on you and make you feel shitty afterwards. No matter how nice you are, it's difficult to change someone's shitty core values and morals.

Now I surround myself with people who are genuine and I'm so fortunate to able to grow with them and help them with whatever I have. It's a really good change, and one that I'm thankful it came early. I'm so relieved and I hope I can positively influence the people that I care about :) Living like how I used to was like barely breathing, and it took that moment to finally get out of it.

I never thought I would have a personal site/blog but since I've been receiving a lot of questions on my work, business and life... I guess I could share part of my journey and some of my insights. Maybe it would inspire someone? Either way, it's also a nice way to document precious moments in my life since keeping it my memory isn't the most reliable way.

Writing has never been my forte, in fact I'm usually careless in my language so this is an uncharted hobby for me. Also I thought it's important that I start to appear somewhere in the Internet where people can connect with me, since I choose not to have a LinkedIn profile. Used to have one, but I deleted it after SMU when I figured out what I wanted to do in life and didn't see the need for it. To be honest, it is also because I felt the pressure of not having a nice wholesome resume with famed companies compared to my peers. I went straight into my business so I never really had the chance to work for someone else or to have any corporate experience.

So there's that! A nice personal page with all my thoughts! And if you like to connect with me, you can drop me a direct message on Instagram. I gets spams like 'hi', 'how are you' kind of messages with no content quite often and these are the kind of things I don't reply to. However if you have a proper reason or question, I'll do my best to reply! :)

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