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Chasing The Pearl Of Lao Tzu

Painting in Asian style depicting Lao Tzue and the discovery of a giant pearl.
Kristina Collantes / The Atlantic
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Legend says the Pearl of Lao Tzu was found in 1934 after a diver drowned trying to pry it from the mouth of a giant clam. The writer Michael LaPointe has traced the pearl's unbelievable story through a tangled web of fact and fiction.

RadioWest divider.

Legend says the Pearl of Lao Tzu was found in 1934 after a diver drowned trying to pry it from the mouth of a giant clam. Once the world’s largest pearl, it has been valued between $100,000 and $100 million. According to the writer Michael LaPointe, the pearl’s true worth is in the myths that have grown on it, and in the stories of the characters who would give everything to acquire it. LaPointe joins us to spin the yarn of the pearl and talk about unweaving a beguiling web of fact and fiction. (Rebroadcast)

Michael LaPointe is a writer and critic. He has written for the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and the Times Literary Supplement. His article "Chasing the Pearl of Lao Tzu" appeared in the June issue of the Atlantic.