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American Philosophical Society
Beyond Price: Pearls & Pearl-Fishing: Origins to the Age of Discoveries
R. A. Donkin (au). Man has been intrigued by the origin of pearls, sensitive to their beauty, & convinced of their medicinal value for at least 5 millennia. A mixture of folklore & observation preceded the earliest scientific inquiries. Fishing & trade commenced in S. Asia, between India & Sri Lanka & around the Persian Gulf. In W. & Central Europe, Inner Asia & China, & N. Am., freshwater pearls were probably known & treasured before those of marine origin. Here, R.A. Donkin combines written sources with the results of archaeological & philological research. A refined nomenclature points to a long familiarity with etymologically related words for ‘pearl’. Pearls were prominent among the luxury products of world trade & were high among the objectives of expeditions to the eastern & western Tropics. This book is organized both chronologically & by region. Illus.
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