Essential Oils of Tasmania, has been green lighted to extract ingredients from South Seas Pearls for their fragrant properties. Who in the world knew pearls had a smell at all? It’s news to me!
One of the most infamous pearl related events in history comes down to us thru the writings of Pliny the Elder. He reported that at a banquet reception for Mark Antony, Cleopatra reportedly displayed her infamous Eastern heritage. The truth of the matter is awash in Roman propaganda but the gist is this: Mark Antony, overwhelmed by the magnificence of the weeks feasting, asked if anything could possibly be done to out do the previous entertainments. Cleopatra said there was. She was in possession of the two largest pearls in the known world. To win the wager, she had the usual banquet feast prepared. When he arrived on the scene, Antony reportedly ribbed her about the ordinary decorations and trappings. She replied that she alone would consume 10 million sesterces. Her servants placed a goblet of vinegar before her and she is reported to have dropped one of the two pearls which she was wearing as earrings in the goblet and when it had dissolved, she drank it.
Historians have long noted that Pliny was a Roman propagandist and that the marriage of conspicuous consumption and the East was reborn in this tale. Additionally, while vinegar is highly acidic, when pearls are dropped into even the most abrasive vinegar, they do not melt immediately as Pliny suggested in his story. Research on Cleopatra’s pearl cocktail from the past ten years has been conducted to verify the veracity of the dissolving pearls in vinegar tale and concluded it was indeed POSSIBLE while not exactly as Pliny the Elder described.