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and hope this information can inspire you to more jewelries with freshwater pearls.
can be thought of as salt-water pearls’ overlooked younger sibling. They’ve rarely been given the same high-priced value or respect—typically, freshwater pearls not as round as sea-water pearls--and yet they may be equally beautiful. Found in rivers, lakes, and high mountains streams, freshwater pearls form not in oysters but in Unio mussels. Like salt-water pearls, freshwater pearls come into being because of an irritant that enters the shell, usually some sort of parasite. The mussel, like the oyster, coats the parasite with nacre, or mother of pearl, smoothing over any rough edges and lessening the irritant. In the case of river mussels, the parasites prefer mussel shells that are already slightly deformed and therefore open a crack. British freshwater pearls fisherman, a profession that is now almost extinct, used to hone in on these deformed shells, knowing they were the most promising sources of freshwater pearls.
Julius Caesar, who famously loved pearls, had no problem valuing link
. It’s believed that one of the reasons he invaded Britain was for its bounty of freshwater pearls. At that time, British pearls were famed for their golden-brown hue, but different locales yielded different colors. Scotland became known for its rose-pink pearls, Cumbria for its black pearls, and Ireland for its white.
At the beginning of the 20th century, “pearl fever” struck the United States. Pearl prospectors would hasten from river to river whenever there was any hint of pearls. Most of these freshwater pearls were found in the Mississippi River Valley, but there were also finds in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The “Queen Pearl”—pink, round, and weighing almost 93 grams--is considered North America’s most famous and a valuable freshwater pearl. It was found in 1857 in a brook near Paterson, New Jersey. Bought by Tiffany and Company, the “Queen Pearl” was eventually sold Empress Eugenie of France. Over-harvesting and pollution have also affected the mussels in the United States, and today China is the world’s largest source of freshwater pearls. Like salt-water pearls,link
are now commercially cultured and farmed.
have become favorites with jewelry designers because of their affordability, and variety of shape and color. Like their sea-water kin, freshwater pearls seem to carry the moon’s glow, a soft silvery sheen, as beautiful as it is timeless.