Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
American BaroquePearls and the Nature of Empire, 1492-1700$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Molly A. Warsh

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469638973

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469638973.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 19 October 2019

“A Few More or Less Make No Difference”

“A Few More or Less Make No Difference”

Accounting for Pearls in Northern Europe in the Seventeenth Century

Chapter:
(p.193) 6 “A Few More or Less Make No Difference”
Source:
American Baroque
Author(s):

Molly A. Warsh

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469638973.003.0007

This chapter considers how pearls’ subjective beauty, their complex and mysterious origins, and their powerful association with mastery of the seas allowed them to remain a powerful heuristic device for the expression of ideas about mutability, worth, and the nature of different places and peoples around the world. As empires moved to objectify profit and regulate the role of subjects in new ways, pearls continued to serve as a useful index (elenco in Spanish, a word Pliny the Elder employed to denote an elongated pearl but that, by the early seventeenth century, had come to stand for the very impulse to order and compartmentalize that the jewel provoked) of peoples’ highly independent and contingent calculations of worth. Through a consideration of crown-sponsored pearl-fishing interventions in the Scottish Highlands and along Swedish rivers close to the city of Gothenburg, this chapter traces how pearls continued to facilitate the expression of distinct approaches to resource husbandry at scales personal and imperial. The chapter further explores the late-seventeenth-century market for pearls in London and the jewel’s unstable political and economic value as expressed in private correspondence as well as in portraits of women and enslaved bodies whose value was considered impermanent and for purchase..

Keywords:   Women, Slavery, Mutability, Worth, Scotland, Sweden, Elenco, Portraits, Northern Europe, Resource husbandry

North Carolina Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .