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2 posts tagged with jewish by blahblahblah.
Displaying 1 through 2 of 2.

Feathers worth more than diamonds

For forty years around the turn of the 20th century, ostrich plumes were the height of fashion, and a major industry: at its peak, ostrich feathers were, ounce-for-ounce, nearly as valuable as diamonds, so much so that £20,000 of feathers went down with the Titanic. The market for feathers was, in large part, run by Jews: Sephardi Jews exported feathers, Jews in London and New York traded them, and Eastern European Jews left Russia and Lithuania in the thousands to farm feathers, flocking to Oudtshoorn "The Jerusalem of Africa." In 1914, the boom ended, leaving many destitute and leading to anti-semitic backlashes. A brief but entertaining history of the feather trade can be read in this PDF excerpt. Some of the beautiful "Feather Palaces" of Oudtshoorn still survive, as does a small Jewish community and some vintage fashion.
posted by blahblahblah on Apr 8, 2014 - 10 comments

Holy snails!

A rabbi, some snails, the color purple, and a 1,500 year old mystery. By puzzling through various sources, a group of researchers and religious scholars think they have found in the mollusk Murex trunculus the source of a purplish dye that was used in ancient Jewish ceremonies over a millennia and a half ago. Murex has been used for the last 3,600 years to make Imperial or Tyrian Purple, a key color in the ancient world. There are many other pigments with their own interesting stories as well.
posted by blahblahblah on Dec 20, 2005 - 15 comments

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