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Liquid Gold for Hair Entices Ex-Goldman Analyst, L’Oreal: Retail

Sitting barefoot on blood-orange pillows in a village near the seaside resort of Agadir, a dozen Moroccan women in multi-colored caftans banter while hitting acorn-shaped nuts with stones in metronomic fashion -- tap, tap, tap -- until they crack, revealing a kernel or two inside.

The Berber women earn 40 dirhams ($4) for a day’s work producing about a kilogram of the dime-sized kernels, which are ground and pressed to release an oil so rare, so versatile, and so potent that it can sell for the equivalent of $400 a liter in beauty boutiques worldwide.