Makati, Philippines (PressExposure) March 12, 2011 -- "No pearl is like the other," She tells me while placing each necklace on top of a coffee table. I couldn't have agreed more. When I first heard of this assignment to write about The Francisco Amare Group and their introduction of the Baroque, or rather" irregular pearl", I was rather skeptical. My world revolved around current issues, political conflicts, around people's rallies, congress hearings and government matters. So much for being a reporter on-the-go. It follows I was rather baffled upon being designated the assignment, upon which I was suspecting a prank-in-the-making.
But here I was, watching former beauty queen Patricia Francisco gracefully playing with her pearls. Before this, I have never really seen her up close, though I have heard raves and commendations of her beauty from colleagues. True, it has been three years since the media has seen her grace print, billboard and television advertisements, after which she disappeared a day after her shoot for a local soda brand. No one really knew what occurred, where she went and why. Rumors have it she was bored and travelled the world. Others say she married a wealthy Arab sheikh and lived in a desert palace. Still critics suspected her to be pregnant and have gained weight. Once I heard one of her detractors claiming he has seen her inside a supermarket doing groceries- an overweight, pathetic version of the had-been Patricia Francisco in her winning form.
None of this proves to be true however, as Francisco Amare Group spokesperson epitomized Life in the flesh. There was something about her- something novel and contagiously radiant as she spoke of The Francisco Amare Pearls as if she was talking to one of her girl friends during a girl's day out.
"Don't be surprised," she said, breaking the ice. "Pearls have been women's companion since the time of Cleopatra. Doesn't it make sense that pearls evolve alongside fashion?" I couldn't have agreed more. Before me was a variety of pearls I never even knew existed: heart-shaped glasslike textures to those of formless, semi-rough ones which colors range from a strange neon lime to that of metallic purple.
Then there were differing shapes-from classic spherical transitioning to coin- shaped resemblances to peanut- shaped forms and what's this? Fish? I looked closer. Yep. Fish, hearts and stars. Who knew a pearl enthusiast has this much variety?
Baffled, my question was, "How come I've seen this just now?"
"It's a secret," She joked while handing me out a "Penelope", a necklace of tear-shaped pearls to touch. "Kidding aside, abstract, formless pearls have been in existence for as long as time could tell. From where I come from, pearl farmers throw them out after a harvest. A pearl farmer waits for three years only to be disappointed when his pearls turn out far from spherical. You can imagine him going home to his wife beaten and disappointed like a little boy coming home after a school fight."
So what does the name Francisco Amare have to do with all these?
"Francisco Amare is not just about pearls," she muses. "Francisco Amare is about passion so strongly felt; it can either kill or bring someone to life. By the rule of adversity, we are what we are- but without spirit and adrenaline, we are only as significant as a lamp is to a light bulb."
"Francisco Amare is a state of being," She continues. "It is pretty much like collective potential harnessed for eons then at the right time released for that one-time significant blow. It has been there- it is there. Lives are spent chasing after it, but great men and women, whose names we know today, did nothing but own it."
"Baroque pearls have always been looked down upon in the pearl grading caste system. Jewelers acknowledge their uniqueness every now and then though more often than not, a baroque is a pearl farmer's curse."
She adds, "Who ever said skinny was in, or that blondes have more fun? Who said you have to be all these and compromise who you are to be considered beautiful, at the very least accepted? Each of us has had conflicts- everyone has a story to tell. Our pearls have theirs too- and the story behind each scratch, each bump and each deviation is a statement, an experience. Its story, its agony, its struggle to survive transcends proportional beauty that in the end an Amare pearl is more than beautiful, it is in actuality, alive."
So what shall be expecting from The Group in the future?
"Hmm. I don't really know." she murmured while lining up her pearls once more- this time from the biggest to smallest of size. "Who am I to tell? We go where the wind takes us. Isn't that what life is all about?"