Three Historians Talk about Pearl History

A recent BBC radio discussion about the history of pearls, featuring Victoria Finlay, Beatriz Chadour-Sampson and professor Molly Warsh. It’s a wide-ranging discussion, touching on pearls from a range of times and places. All in 44 minutes, but it’s amazing how much can be covered in such a short time. They also experiment with dropping a pearl into vinegar, testing the legend of Cleopatra and Marc Antony.

I was particularly interested in the discussion of pearls in the Caribbean and the hardships faced by the divers there and in other parts of the world. The change from natural pearls to cultured is also discussed. In many ways, Mikimoto did the world a great service in eliminating the pearl diving business.

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