Sweden Pearls - Historical Accounts
Sweden pearls were found in many mountain streams years ago.
This is historical information as recorded by Kunz & Stevenson and first published in 1908, making the accounts a century old. Please check current laws before attempting Swedish pearling.
The Swedish pearl fisheries were noted, neartly four centuries ago, by Olaus Magnus, Archbishop of Upsala. Pearls were sought for by expert fishermen in the interior districts, and were brought in large quantities to the coasts for sale, the women and girls of all classes, rich and poor, using them extensively in personal decoration.
The celebrated Linnæus, "Father of Natural History", left a detailed account of the method by which mussels were caught in Sweden nearly two centuries ago. he wrote: "In the summer season, if the water is shallow, the fishermen wade in the stream and gather the mussels with their hands. Should the water be deeper, they dive for the mussels and place such as they find in a vessel made of birch bark, which they carry with them. Sunny days are selected, because then they can see deeper into the water. But, should this not suffice, they traverse the river on rafts which are painted white beneath so that the bed of the stream may be illumined by the reflected light. The men lie prone on the rafts and look down into the depths so that they may immediately seize with wooden tongs the mussels which they discover. Or else, hanging by their hands to the rafts, they seize them in the water with their toes. If the water is too deep even for this, they dive and feel around on the bottom with their hands until ti becomes necessary to rise again to the surface in order to breathe. However, out of a hundred mussels, scarcely one contains a good Sweden pearl; but sometimes as many as twenty Sweden pearls of the size of a grain of sand are found in one shell. Many of the larger pearls are reddish or dark, but occasionally a beautiful white pearl is hidden under such a covering; although, naturally, it is rare that this is altogether perfect. It has been noted that mussels seven years old contain pearls; and in each of two mussels eighteen years old, a pearl was found attached to the shell.
The list of streams in Sweden from which pearls were taken, as noted by Olaf Malmer, J. Fischerstein, and Gissler a century and a half ago, seems to cover nearly all the rivers and brooks which flow from the mountains of this beautiful country.
Besides Sweden pearls where have natural pearls been found?