The Pearl Necklace

COURTESY Justin Codrai

A string of pearls was given as a wedding gift by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum to Pamela Codrai, my mother and wife of Ronald Codrai, the oil company executive based in the Trucial States from 1948 to early 1956. My father struck up a close friendship with Sheikh Rashid that lasted until Sheikh Rashid’s death on 7th October 1990.
Following my father’s marriage to my mother on 26th February 1952 in Tripoli, Lebanon, they honeymooned in Cyprus and in Iraq to photograph and write about the excavations at Nimrod and Ninevah conducted by Max Mallowan and his wife, Agatha Christie. After a brief stop in Beirut, they continued their journey to Bahrain and then on to Sharjah. From Sharjah, they travelled by road to Dubai on 3rd April, 1952 having been greeted by the newly purchased, convertible Studebaker, flying the Dubai flag, and sent by Sheikh Rashid.
Arriving at their home, they then received visits from Sheikhs Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Juma bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, Hasher bin Maktoum Al Maktoum and Khalifa bin Saeed Al Maktoum. During Sheikh Rashid’s visit, he presented my mother with this string of local pearls as a wedding gift that she wore proudly until her death on 13th October 2007.
The pearls on this necklace are from the Arabian Gulf. They have a distinctive pink glow and were popular in France in the days before cultured pearls. Strings of pearls, like this necklace, were rarely worn by local women.

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