Category Archives: Cultural

An Exploratory Look at Seattle’s Coffee Culture

In the past decade, Seattle and coffee have become synonymous in that Seattle sparked the growing coffee culture in the United States. Of course, we know that Seattle is the birthplace of many large retail coffee chains that now dominate the US and can be found on one or even two street corners within every city intersection.

Starbucks can be enjoyed in any city in the United States, but Seattle is the actual birthplace for this commercial coffee giant that has made its stamp on the worldwide coffee market. The coffee culture in Seattle started in a small coffee shop in 1971 in the Pike Place Market, and still today, many visitors travel all over the world to come to this origin of America’s coffee culture. However, Seattle still has a number of coffee chains that they have bragging rights to that have made their impact on the entire nation. Some examples are Tully’s and Seattle’s Best, as well as an astounding number of impressive local coffee shops throughout the city.

Any tourists or natives to the city can find fragrant aromas, unique coffee shop designs, and even a wide range of latte art within the coffee shop selections. Seattle also gives you the opportunity to explore the city with a harbor view, starting with the Pacific Place mall downtown for shopping selections. Tourists who are interested can also visit the Space Needle, which was constructed in 1962 for the World Fair. There is also the offering of the Pacific Science Center, which has a planetarium and an IMAX theater.

The point of the matter is that there is much to do and see in Seattle, on top of the diverse and impressive coffee culture already existing. There is no argument that coffee is a staple of the city of Seattle, including the fact that a recent study tested the sewer discharge water to find that it had elevated levels of caffeine. Visitors to Seattle can also expect a unique language when it comes to coffee, such as ordering a decaffeinated latte with skim milk in a cup with handles is called the Skinny Harmless on a Leash. If any of this lingo seems intimidating, be sure to ask your friendly barista for help in deciphering the coffee or espresso menu!

For any of those that visit Seattle in the recent future, you may be surprised to find that Starbucks is no longer the defining factor. There are a number of local and widely popular coffee shops in the Seattle area that have not yet spread to the rest of the United States. Starbucks is a nationwide and even worldwide phenomenon, but it is no longer representative of the coffee wares that Seattle has to offer. For any coffee fans interested in travel, Seattle is definitely the place to visit because you can experience firsthand sipping a delicious cup of Joe in a number of unique coffee establishments. This is your opportunity to delve right into an established coffee culture that celebrates one-of-a-kind Java!

Cultured Pearls Are Here to Stay

When a small object is embedded in the tissue of either an oyster or a mollusk, a pearl is formed. The mantle tissue of the mollusks then releases a mix of organic and crystalline substances called nacre. When the nacre piles up into lawyers, the irritant then becomes a pearl.

Another way for pearls to be produced is when a certain stimuli, like let’s say a parasite, is lodged in between the shell of the mollusk or the oyster. Then the nacre is also released around the intruder. This then leads to the build-up which produces pearls.

When you say natural pearl, these are the pearls that have been produced in nature. Cultured pearls are the total opposite wherein human beings have a role to play in producing these. Inserting foreign objects into the tissue of the mollusk or the oyster, pearl farmers can trigger the process o making pearls.

Over the years, peals have been in demand in the market, especially in the jewelry market. Pearl is symbolic to modesty and virtue. It is also a precious stone. Though they are technically organic gems, because they came from shellfish or mollusks, history of pearls as jewelry goes way back 4000 years.

How they are acquired and their appearance has changed at the turn of each century but pearl remains to be staples when talking about jewelry.

The basis for the pearl to be really precious is the time the oyster coats the sphere with nacre. Since it is rare for any pearl to have the perfect spherical shape, the rounder the better is the rule for pearl farmers.

Nowadays, pearls that are sold as jewelry today are cultured pearls. Human beings had to play a role in the creation of these jewelry in order to manifest a perfect circle pearl.

Cultured pearls can be rated on five qualities:
1. Luster and orient
Luster is the sharpness of the pearl as well as the intensity of the reflections on its surface whereas orient is those iridescent colors that a person sees when looking within the pearl. The pearl is valuable depending on the luster and orient. The higher the better.

2. Color
Usually pearls are white, black and yellow. The undertones are normally rose, pink or ever green. For personal preference, the pearls can be dyed.

3. Cleanliness
Imperfections are still evident in cultured pearls regardless of the way they were made. Real pearls, be it natural or cultivated, are to be expected on real pearls. But the rule here is the less noticeable these flaws are, then the better.

4. Shape
Spherical pearls, because of its rarity, are the most precious types of pearls. There are still imperfections even if it is round. When one looks closely, the symmetry can also be imperfect. That is exactly why there are teardrop shaped earrings made from pearls.

5. Size
Cultured pearls are often sold by diameter. They are measured in millimeters. The larger the cultured pearls, then the rarer, thus the more expensive. Therefore, the bigger the pearl, the better the price.

If you would be wearing pearls, then you should choose a set that go with one another. Let’s say that you plan on wearing necklace and earrings. Then go for the pearls that have similar size, color, luster and most importantly shape. You have to match pearls because just like any jewelry, they are also an investment.

Cultured pearls are also sensitive so you have to be really careful in handling them once you bought a set. They can be scratched by other jewelry that comes in contact. Try to keep these pearls separate from one another or also from the other gems in your jewelry box.

Be it natural or cultured, once you own pearls, they are precious stones like diamonds, rubies, sapphires and the lake. Pearls have often been deemed as classy and elegant. They can match anything you wear. Take for example Marcia Cross as Bree Van De Kamp in “Desperate Housewives” or Marge Simpson in “The Sampsons”. They both wear pearls. They may be TV characters but they sure look classy in them. What more if a person wears pearls in real life?