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The Pearl & the Dragon: A Study of Vietnamese Pearls
October 10, 2023

The Pearl and the Dragon: A Study of Vietnamese Pearls and a History of the Oriental Pearl Trade, edited by Derek J. Content, 1999.

This delightful book attempts to trace the origins of the circle of melo pearls pictured on the book's cover, plus, thanks to Kenneth Scarratt's contribution, there is a detailed study of the properties of melo pearls.

The magnificent pearls in the photo range in weight from 11.20 ct to 207.04 ct, with diameters up to 32.09 mm.

The twenty-three pearls were reportedly from Vietnam and it is thought that all twenty-three were at one time part of a collection owned by the emperors of Vietnam.

Derek J. Content writes about the geography and history of the pearl trade in China, Vietnam, India, and the Near East.

Alexander the Great, in 323 BC, hired Phoenicians to navigate the Persian Gulf. One of these ships called at al-Bahrayn (Bahrain) and observed the pearl fisheries there.

Emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666), the builder of the Taj Mahal, is depicted in exquisite detailed miniatures in the Windsor Shahnameh (an illustrated manuscript from 1648) wearing his pearl necklaces into battle and while hunting.

It's fascinating to read this pearl trading history.

James Traub and Benjamin Zucker explore the mystery of origins of this set of melo pearls traveling to Vietnam to track down the imperial history of these pearls. Zucker says, "The collection recalls both he glory of the Vietnamese court and, at the same time, serves as a tribute to the energy and determination of the people of Vietnam."

This is just a very quick overview of this lovely and informative book.

If you search for a copy of this book to purchase online, be sure to include "study of Vietnam pearls" because several books have "Pearl & Dragon" in their titles.

Here's a video of a 53.89 ct melo pearl for sale on my site:

Buy Melo Pearls Here

This 129 ct Melo Pearl also available but not listed on my site.

Would you like a chance at winning one of these hardcover books - The Pearl and the Dragon: A Study of Vietnamese Pearls and a History of the Oriental Pearl Trade? If so, please let me know so I can consider having a contest for one at a future date.

Reading about ancient dynasties reminded me that my chickens are pretty good at using watermelons for "Ming Dynasty" bowl reproductions :)

God bless and thanks for reading,


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