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Biography of an Idea: The Founding Principles of Public Relations by Edward L. Bernays

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chapter 48

ORIENTAL PEARLS

In the Thirties Oriental pearls were suffering from two bad blows—the Depression and Japanese cultured pearls. In Europe and America purchases of luxuries had been greatly reduced. Even the rich considered it bad taste to wear jewels, because it aroused resentment. But at least the jewelers believed the Depression would pass. A more permanent threat came to Oriental pearls when the Japanese discovered that a piece of sand inserted between the shells of a living oyster caused an irritation and produced a cultured pearl, indistinguishable to the naked eye from the natural Oriental pearl. The introduction of the cultured pearl caused consternation in the Isle of Pearls, Bahrein, among the pearl dealers and among the owners ...

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