The Irish Pearl , illustrated with colour photographs, is the first book to be published on Irish pearls. It traces the place of the native pearl in the myth, history, commerce, science, arts and literature of Ireland. It draws on gemmology, biology and economics as well as on historical and literary resources to shed light on a hitherto neglected aspect of our history and culture
Pearl fishing has an exotic ring to it, but few people know that it was once a widespread activity in Ireland. In fact, pearls have been found in rivers throughout the country, and they have been a feature of our past since the ancient Irish began to trade them with the Phoenicians for the secrets of producing purple dye.
Throughout the centuries, pearl fishing in Ireland has ranged between a casual occupation and an organised commercial concern. the fisheries that were established on most major rivers never reached national importance, since only one in ten thousand freshwater mussels contains a valuable jewel. nevertheless, the pearl has been used in Ireland for personal and religious adornment, and has become a powerful symbol in Irish folklore, legend and art. Like any commodity of such arbitrary value, the price of pearls has varied greatly depending on when, where and to whom they were sold. It has always been the poor who have searched Ireland's rivers for p[earls, though, and this book also describes the part that pearls have had to play in the social conditions of those who fished for them.
The Irish Pearl - a Cultural, Social and Economic History
- Product Code: John Lucey
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