A gone-are-the-days recall by the outstanding Oriental pearl dealer of the century which conveys a lifelong fascination with the beauty of the gems he handled. Caucasian born, Rosenthal left home alone for Paris- at the age of 14- to ""seek his fortune""- which he accomplished in fairly short order. Buying and selling bric a brac in auction houses, he acquired enough capital to enter the pearl market in the 1890's, and a decade or two later he had a world monopoly of the field which no one could contest. But the devaluation of Oriental pearls with the advent of the cultured paralleled his own losses when Hitler, and the war, forced his crossing to America where today, in his late seventies, he is still dealing in pearls- if cultured ones. There's a good bit here about the pearl, in history and legend, its value, its care,- and if these memoirs lack the lustre of their inspiration, they still provide a pleasant, rather formal narrative.