World Cup host Qatar leaves pearl diving past far behind

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Before the oil and gas age, the main commodity for World Cup host nation Qatar was pearls. For centuries, pearls have been used in jewelry and none were considered as fine as those found in the Persian Gulf. The iridescent precious bead forms when an irritant slips into an oyster shell. Qatar was at the heart of a booming pearl diving industry at the start of the 20th century. That was quickly brought down by the Japanese invention of artificial pearls. Not much later, the Gulf Arab sheikdom discovered its vast offshore gas fields.

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