|Back to Back Issues Page|
USA Natural Freshwater Pearls
May 07, 2013
I've added lots of USA natural freshwater pearls to my site. You will be amazed at the luster some of these radiate. Colors range from green, pink, brown, lavender and purple to golden. Some have jaw dropping sizes up to over 64 carats. Shapes vary from spikes to rounds to baroques and even an anatomical heart. A very rare pair of near perfect round pearls is waiting for someone's designing genius.
These are a few. Check out dozens more here.
Supplies of natural USA freshwater pearls are limited. Most areas of the USA are now closed to shelling. Nobody knows how much longer the current areas will remain open. For example, where I live in Muscatine, Iowa, on the Mississippi River, it is no longer legal to gather vast amounts of shells. Today, with a fishing license, one may gather only 24 shells per day. This greatly limits any chance of finding more pearls.
Kunz in his 1908 book of pearls has this to say about USA natural freshwater pearls.
The first region in the Mississippi Valley to attract attention was southwestern Wisconsin. Early in the summer of 1889, many beautiful pearls were found in Pecatonica River. Within three months, $10,000 worth of gems were sent from this region to New York City alone, including one worth $500, which was a very considerable sum for a fresh-water pearl at that time. The interest quickly spread to neighboring waters and within a short time pearls were found also in Sugar River, in Apple River, in Rock River, in Wisconsin River and in the Mississippi in the vicinity of Prairie du Chien. The fact that little experience and no capital was required for the business drew large numbers of persons to the newly-found Klondike; and the finds were so numerous and of such high quality that about $300,000 worth of pearls were collected before the end of 1891, greatly exceeding all records of fresh waters.
Within the main channel of the Mississippi, the relative scarcity of pearls in the Unios, and the greater preparations required for collecting the mollusks in the deep waters, retarded the fishery until the establishment of button manufacture afforded a market for the shells, this originating in 1891. The industry developed rapidly and for several years has consumed about 35,000 tons of shells annually, obtained principally in the Mississippi between Quincy and La Crosse, and to a much less extent in other streams in this valley. This is more than twice the total product of mother-of-pearl shell in all parts of the world.
On a personal note, here is my new grandson, David Joran. Joran is Norwegian for farmer. Maybe he'll help us on our sheep farm someday. His mother, Bethany, calls this his "squirrel look".
Be sure to let me know if you have questions or offers to make. God bless!
|Back to Back Issues Page|