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A book with the luster and allure of its subject, Pearls is the most spectacular volume ever produced on this prized gem. Blending history, science, and the jeweler's art to celebrate these natural treasures - as in Abrams' hugely successful Amber - this lavishly illustrated volume, shimmering with new color photography and archival images, traces the natural and cultural history of pearls around the world. Published to accompany an exhibition organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Field Museum in Chicago, Pearls begins with the earliest pearl artifacts found in Mesopotamia and discusses how pearls are formed, in nature and by humans, the ways different cultures have used pearls in literature, paintings, religious objects, and sculptures, and, of course, pearls as personal adornment.