I worked on the Mississippi River for 5 years as a commercial clammer and found a number of pearls.

by Don Heiring
(Fennimore, WI 53809)

I clammed on the Mississippi River for 5 summers form 1991-1995. We sold the clams for the shell that were made into round beads to be inserted into oysters to make a cultured pearl. I was going to college at the time and it was a nice summer job.

I was hooked on pearls the day I found my first one. It was about an 8mm and pink. I was amazed that anything so beautiful could come from an ugly black clam.

I went on the find about 30 in all, over the next 5 years. I also found a number of baroques that are odd shaped pearls. They range from about 1mm up to about 10mm. They are different colors and have a range of lusters.

I sold about 5 of my pearls the largest being a 12mm white. I am looking to sell some of the others that I have, but my previous buyer no longer is in the pearl market.

If there is anyone interested please respond. I will guarantee these to be 100% natural pearls from the Mississippi River. Thanks, Don.

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Dec 28, 2010
Mississippi River pearls
by: Kari

Hi Don,

Thanks for sharing about your Mississippi River pearls. As someone who lives only a few miles from this mighty river, I love hearing about your treasures and seeing a photo.

USA river pearls have decorated European royalty who often appreciated these lovely pearls more than local folks.

I spoke with one local diver who most often found elongated black pearls and another diver who saw a very large pink pearl. Here is a large pink pearl from a Minnesota river.

Our local pearl button museum in Muscatine, Iowa, has several Mississippi River pearls on display along with creative and fun button making experiences.

I think it is time to start appreciating these wonderful natural pearls once again and realizing their true value and beauty.

I look forward to meeting you someday, Don, and seeing your collection. Your city in Wisconsin is on the same highway that passes by our sheep farm in Iowa.

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