Monday, May 13, 2013


In 1917, Cartier acquired his New York City location in a famous trade: $100 and a double string of pearls valued at one million dollars, in exchange for a 5th Avenue address.

Meanwhile, across the globe, Tokichi Nishikawa patented his first cultured pearls. When Nishikawa married the daughter of Mikimoto, the union changed the pearl industry forever. Cultured pearls, created for a fraction of the price, in a fraction of the time, were destined to control the market ... with nacre just barely skin deep.

In 1957, that one million dollar Cartier double strand sold at auction for only $151,000.

So I ask:

How much authenticity is enough? Is a quick eye test the only valid gauge? (Rhetorical question, I'm afraid.)

The same concept applied to writing:

Details can be layered as deep as an author pleases, but those details better look pretty enough on the surface. A reader is most interested in the sheen, after that, they want to keep on flipping those pages. The only authenticity an author can't skimp on is character.

Well ...that last statement is not entirely true for every genre. *ahem*


Matthew MacNish said...

Hmm. It's an interesting question. As a reader, I tend to prefer depth, but as a writer, I'm afraid I often over write.

Theresa Milstein said...

I wind up writing pretty spare and adding layers as I go on.

Apt analogy.

This post is fascinating. I had no idea about any of these pearl stories. It's amazing something could go from so valuable to a fraction of the cost on that kind of scale!

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