Puget Sound Pearls

by Donald S.
(Mason county, WA )

The pearls

The pearls

My family and I were on a camping trip in the San Juan islands. We were doing some sightseeing and decided to harvest some shellfish to go with our dinner. We found some HUGE mussels and decided that they would go in the bag to try out. We steamed up the mussels back at camp and I got to cleaning them up for dinner and I noticed what I thought were little stones in the flesh of the largest mussel, and then it struck me that what I was seeing were actually pearls. The biggest one was seen first, then another and another until the count reached 31! I couldn't believe it, and neither could the rest of our group. I didn't know Mussels made pearls.

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Aug 11, 2023
How exciting!
by: Kari

Hello Donald,

How exciting. You must have been thrilled. I hope you can find many more.

Yes, for sure, mussels make pearls but 31 in one is totally amazing. Any mollusk can produce pearls.

I wonder how old the huge one you posted a picture of is?

I'm more familiar with blue mussels which are in several parts of the world and they must be closely related and resemble one another in appearance. I even have pearls from Norway from the blue mussel.

Here's a bit about Norway's blue mussel. The blue mussel has a high tolerance for extreme environmental conditions. For instance, although they're normally found in shallow waters along the coast, the have been known to survive at considerable depths. Even without optimal temperature and salinity, the blue mussels will not only tough it out, but thrive. Blue mussels can even withstand being above water during low tide. For this reason, the species can be found all the way from the coast of Northern Spain to the northern waters outside Norway and Russia. The mussels have even been found as far north as Svalbard! (source: https://seafoodfromnorway.us/seafood-from-norway/blue-mussel/)

I've been to Svalbard but didn't know to look for mussels. It's high up in Artic Circle.

Thanks for sharing, Donald. I had seen your post on Facebook so I'm glad you took the time to share it. I appreciate it and people enjoy reading about these exciting pearl finds.

If I were you I'd keep looking! Natural pearls are super special and super rare. They may not be "perfect" like so many cultured pearls but each is unique like a human.

God bless,

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