At the Havaiki Pearl Farm, I join a group that includes a French family from Papeete, on the main island of Tahiti , and two other French couples. We walk to the end of the dock, jump in and swim out to where the pearls are. I dive down to pick out a string, and Matthais Teihotaaia, our guide, carries it back to the dock to open. As Matthais pries each oyster open, he explains the process of pearl cultivation to us. Each pearl must be first seeded then pried from the oyster's gonads. We all gather around to see a circus of pearls: baroque, ronde, teardrop, black and yellow and even green ones. We gasp and cheer, and I lean in close to get a better look at what the Tahitian god of pearls and the firmament, Oro, has bestowed upon me. They are all lovely and each unique, in that we have chosen them and they us.