Pearls in the Smithsonian Collection 2006

Pearls from India, Ceylon, and the Persian Gulf were precious gems during the days of Jesus. 

From Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, c. 1st Century AD, "From each of these market-towns (Persian Gulf), there are ... many pearls, but inferior to those of India."

Pearl of Great Price (ASV)

 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls:
 46 and having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Pearls were graded according to shape, size, and color.  The rare ones were very round and would roll on a table top without noticeable wobble.  Ones larger than an olive were rare, but some pearls were larger.  The color and luster were of great importance. The color changed with the angle of light and view point. The richer variations of color play were called oriental iridescence. Some highly valued pearls were of a silver luster.  Some strings of pearls appeared white..  A pearl merchant in the Eastern Orient wrote that in the gold, silver, and jewelry districts of major cities there were known prices for various sorts of pearls based on size, shape, and color.  A very rare pearl was of much greater value and being so rare that there were none in the district, its price was greater than all others in that area.  I have read that a thousand pearl oysters were opened to find a pearl that was marketable.  There might be one very rare pearl in hundreds of thousands of pearl oysters. More recently pearls were cultured in oyster farms.  Emperors gave their wives and daughters fine pearls.  People with great wealth exhibited their pearls and considered them to be investments of great value.  

Some who heard Jesus speak left everything to follow him only to find greater reward than when they started. 

Matthew 7 (ASV)

 6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine, lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you.

One must not throw away valuable assets, but to know their fair market value.  Upon divesting of such assets one might check various buyers for a fair price.  There were numerous pearl traders during the days of Christ.

Julius Caesar bought a pearl for Servilia costing six million sesterces (1.5 million denarii ) it was rumored that he had given it to gain Servilia's daughter Tertia. -  Suetonius

Augustus Caesar went to the shrine of Jupiter Capitolinus and offered sixteen thousand pounds of gold, besides pearls and other precious stones to the value of fifty million sesterces. - Suetonius

Caesar Vitellius took one of his mother's earrings and pawned it to pay business expenses. - Suetonius

Job 28

18 ...the price of wisdom is above pearls.

Peter and Paul (letter to Timothy) wrote letters counseling women to avoid making an extravagant display of clothing and jewelry on the outside, but to be of great value on the inside.  

Parable of the Mustard Seed
     A Mustard Field Along Highway 87-North Shore of Galilee
     Mustard Seeds in the Palm of a Hand
     A Branching Mustard Plant Near the Jordan River/Bethsaida
     Mustard Field March 1999
     Mustard Flowers
Upper Most Seats of the Synagogue

The Fig Tree
     Mt of Olives Fig Tree April 12-13, 2005
     Fig and Pomegranate trees below Siloam in Jerusalem
     Israel Photos II fig tree page
     Sycomore Fig Tree
The Good Shepherd
The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats
     Goat Herder
Ritual Cleansing
     The Olive Harvest of Samaria
     Mt. Ebal
     Olive Tree
Pearl of Great Price
A First Century Synagogue at Gamala
     View from the Vulture Overlook
     Overview of Gamala
Modern Galilee Fishing Boats
Caves and/or Tombs
     Steep Slope near the Lake
Feeding the 5,000
     On the Mountain
     Walking on Water

     Ramot-Zelon area
     Alternate location
Mt. Hermon
The Pool(s) of Bethesda in Jerusalem

     Healing Pools
     Southern Pool
     Crusader Chapel and St. Ann Church
The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem
     Gihon Spring
     Hezekiah's Tunnel
     Overlook of  Siloam
Tower of Siloam
A Watch Tower in a Vineyard/Olive Grove
     Grape Vines at Beth Horan

Mt. Precipice
     South Face
     Over the edge
     Measuring Line
     View of Nazareth from near Megiddo
     The Basilica of the Annunciation
Healing a Paralytic in Capernaum
First Century Artifacts from Qumran and Masada
     Qumran -- 1st century pottery

     Masada -- 1st century glassware
     Masada -- 1st century stoneware
Waterskins and Wineskins
The Fish and the Coin
A Denarius
Casting out a demon
Western Wall
Gethsemane and the Cave of  Gethsemane
Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Rolling Stone Tombs - Jerusalem
     Other Rolling Stone Tombs

Solar Power in Israel

Salt of the earth

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