Norwegian Pearls & Pearling Years Ago

Norwegian pearls as recorded by Kunz & Stevenson in 1908. Keep in mind that this information is a century old. Check with local laws before attempting pearling in Norway.



Church, Norway
Church, NorwayPhotographic Print
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In many of the Norwegian brooks, pearl fishing has been carried on for two or three centuries, and often with satisfactory results. It appears form ordinances dated November 10, 1691, May 14, 1707, and My 28, 1718, that the fisheries were under special supervision as a royal prerogative of the queen of Denmark. Jahn notes that in 1719 and in 1722, Saxon pearl fishermen were sent for. In 1734 Charles VI of Denmark requested teh elector of Saxony to send one of the pearl fishermen of Vogtland to examine the brooks of Norway in reference to the pearl resources, and to determine the practicability of establishing fisheries there. In response to this request, C.H. Schmerler was sent to Copenhagen and thence to Christiania, where he began an investigation of the Norwegian waters, the governor himself attending at the beginning of the work. So great was the estimation of its importance, that Schmerler was soon afterward received in audience by the king and queen of united Denmark and Norway at Frederiksborg palace near Copenhagen and was awarded a gift of one hundreed ducats and a life-pension.

In 1751, according to Pontoppidan, Bishop of Bergen, the Norwegian pearl fisheries were placed under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Christiansand. Among the principal pearling regions at that time were the Gon, Narim and Quasim rivers in the Stavanger district or amt; the Undol, Rosseland and other brooks in the Lister and Mandal province; and several streams in the Lister and Mandal province; and several streams in the district of Nadenas.

Queen Maud of Norway Wife of King Haakon VII Daughter of Edward VII of England
Queen Maud of Norway Wife of King Haakon VII Daughter of Edward VII of EnglandGiclee Print
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Yhe returns from the Norwegian pearl fisheries gradually decreased. After 1768 the rights were leased, and the revenue there from was paid into the royal treasury. Owing to small returns, this source of revenue received less and less atention, and about a century ago it was altogether neglected, although from time to time choice finds were made. Due to unusually low water in 1841, a number of valuable pearls were found near Jedderen in the province of Christiansand, some selling as high as $300 each; several of these were shown at the London Industrial Exhibition by the diocese of Christiania.

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