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Gresham Pearl


The Gresham Pearl belonged to a merchant prince during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

Merchant Thomas Gresham, in an effort to impress the Spanish Ambassador and show that he could afford a more costly meal than even the Queen, removed his prized pearl from his pocked and proceeded to crush the gem into powder.

Gresham then sprinkled the pearl powder into his wine glass and drank every last sip. It is believed that Gresham did this in imitation of Cleopatra — as she had done the same with a large pearl earring.

Prior to Gresham's act of dramatics, the large, natural pearl was valued at $15,000 pounds.