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1 Cuvier observes, that most of the rivers and lakes of the north of Europe possess the mya margarifera: the pearls of which, though much inferior to those of the East, are sufficiently esteemed to be made an article of commerce. Pad pearls, of a dead marble colour, are also very frequently found in the mussels taken off our coasts. Pearls have in modern times declined very considerably in value; those of about the size of a large pea can be purchased, of very fine quality, for about a guinea each, while those of the size of a pepper-corn sell at about eighteen-pence. Seed pearls, of the size of small shot, are of very little value. Tavernier speaks of a remarkable pearl, that was found at Catifia, in Arabia, the fishery probably alluded to by Pliny, in C. 54, and which he bought for the sum of £110,000, some accounts say £10,000, of our money. It is pear-shaped, the elenchus of the ancients, regular, and without blemish. The diameter is .63 of an inch, at the largest part, and the length from two to three inches. It is said to be in the possession of the Shah of Persia.
2 Tacitus, in his Agricola, says that pearls of a tawny and livid colour are thrown up on the shores of Britain, and there collected. Suetonius absolutely says, c. 4, that Julius Cæsar invaded Britain in the hope of obtaining pearls, in the weight and size of which he took considerable interest.
3 By the inscription placed beneath the thorax, or breast-plate.
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