Since the archipelago’s islands are surrounded by the seas, one finds mainly saltwater pearls (as opposed to freshwater pearls) in Indonesia. The pearls originate from the Lombok Strait, which connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean. Due to the unique maritime ecozone, the Indian Ocean is traditionally also known as “the mine of gems” (Sanskrit: ratnākara). When looking at these beautiful pearls, the true meaning of this translation instantly becomes evident.
A pearl is a gem that is classed as ‘mustika’ in the Indonesian mystical tradition. Pearls of this kind belong to the most sacred types of amulets. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that genuine, natural mustikas are very hard to come by. Yet this talismanic ring is inlaid with not just one but three precious pearls of foremost quality. Consequently, this also triples the amulet’s magic power.
Ancient Asian cultural beliefs about pearls state that they possess beneficial qualities to cure skin problems (e.g., impurities, acne, eczema). Hence wearing these lustrous gems is believed to enhance one’s looks by means of smoothening and whitening the skin, which also is one of the reasons why powdered pearls are still used in cosmetics today. Although seemingly feminine in nature, the ring can be worn by both women and men, for indeed, there is no distinction made based on gender regarding the effects of its mystical properties. Thus, besides beautification, this talisman can be used by either sex for the purpose of calling up nāga and siluman water spirits in order to beseech them for blessings of love, luck, and wealth.