This lovely natural fresh water pearl is from the Mississippi River. It is from an old collection from the 1960's. This is NOT CULTURED! It is a silvery, blueish lavender color with fine luster.
Weighs: 6.25 carats
Many North American pearl mussels produce high-quality pearls. The Mississippi River
is known to have gifted the world with some of the rarest of gems. Use of
these pearls for jewelry and decorative objects dates back at least 2,000
years, to the ancient Hopewell culture in Ohio. But subsequently, American
freshwater pearls went almost unnoticed until the mid-1800s, when several
people reported finding spectacular pearls in rivers and streams around
the United States. Those discoveries triggered the beginning of
large-scale harvesting--first for pearls, later for mother-of-pearl to be
used in buttons, and today for shells to produce nuclei for cultured
Different locations in the shell form the variety of shapes. Those along the lip are round and the largest ones are the rarest. Wing shaped pearls form along the back of the shell, and irregular or "baroque" pearls form in the heel of the shell. The brighter the luster, the more valuable it makes the pearl.
The nucleation of natural freshwater pearls by snails and other small mollusks also generates distinctive surface features. Many natural fresh- water pearls show swirling, spiraling grooves or raised lines on the surface, which may be either deep and prominent or quite fine.These grooves or lines usually follow the overall shape of the pearl, more or less paralleling one another, rarely if ever crossing. A finely grooved surface can give the pearl a silky luster and, if the nacre is clear and translucent, can create light interference and dispersion, that is, orient. Because of these and other surface features, because of their baroque and irregular shapes, and because the nacre is often very pure and clear, American freshwater natural pearls show a lot of orient, often significantly more than pearls from other localities.
The rosebud, turtleback, snail, wing, and petal shapes can all be considered typical of American freshwater natural pearls.
The harvest of these beautiful natural pearls has been largely shut down on most American rivers due to the invasion of zebra mussels from Europe. Consequently, these natural pearls will become more and more rare and valuable as time goes on.
If you have any questions about this piece or if we can help you with any of our other products please feel free to contact us through Etsy, through our email: sales [!at] stowegems.com or by phone at (802) 253-7000
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