American Queen Pearl Found only 17 miles from Tiffany & Co.
Naturally, Tiffany & Co. hoped more American Queen Pearls would show up.
Hoping to duplicate a previous wonderful find (a nearly 400 grain pearl whose luster had been destroyed by heat), Howell collected and searched other mussels and his example was followed by several of his neighbors.
Within a few days a magnificent pink pearl was found by a Paterson carpenter named Jacob Quackenbush.
This weighed ninety-three grains, and was bought by the late Charles L. Tiffany for Messrs. Tiffany & Co. New York City, for $1500.
Mr. Tiffany later described with much interest the feelings he experienced after making the purchase. Said he: "Here this man finds a pearl within seventeen miles of our pace of business! What if thousands should be found, and many perhaps finer than this one! However, we risked buying the pearl, and as no one in New York seemed interested in it, we sent it to our Paris house for sale, and a French gem dealer offered for it a very large advance on the original price, paying 12,500 francs."
From this dealer it passed into the possession of the young and beautiful Empress Eugenie, from whom and from its great luster it derived the name "Queen Pearl." The present market value would doubtless amount of $10,000 or more. (1908)Information from 1908 on The American Queen Pearl as recorded by Kunz and Stevenson in "The Book of the Pearl".
At the Pearls: A Natural History Exhibition" that has traveled the world (I saw it in Tokyo) I saw a very small freshwater mussel shell displayed that had the following printed on it. "In this shell there was found a pearl that sold for $1,200." I was very surprised that such a small shell could produce such a valuable pearl.
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