Within a few days I began scribbling out ideas for a poem.
The poem I would ultimately write would not be about the Gulf Pearl Set exactly but would revolve around the fate of a single pearl. I called it the Pearl of Dubai. In real life no such pearl existed; there is no actual Pearl of Dubai. However, the name does exist as an expression. To say that something is “the Pearl of Dubai” is to mark it out as special, beautiful, unique, something eclipsing all others.
The poem’s story was about the pearling boats of old, about a pearl diver, the pearl he brings up from the bottom of the sea and ultimately about his family’s destiny in modern Dubai entwined with this pearl.
Life went on and time passed. I was busy scribbling in my spare moments and meanwhile, half a world away, the Gulf Pearl Set was sold in Geneva. The buyer, like the seller, remained anonymous. The price was four million dollars.
So, after surfacing briefly into the spotlight of public attention during its weeks with Christie’s, the Gulf Pearl Set again disappeared from view. It might stay hidden for fifty or a hundred years. Who knew? Maybe it would stay hidden forever. I’d never get the chance to see it again, of that much I was sure. But I was glad that the paths of the Gulf Pearl Set and myself had crossed however briefly, that the two completely different worlds that we each inhabited had been melded into one for a fragment of time. And I was glad that in its own way, by serving as the inspiration for “The Pearl of Dubai”, the Gulf Pearl Set so unexpectedly brought pleasure to a few people who never knew it even existed – and above all to me.