The history of pearls is unparalleled. Used in the Bible to denote wealth, a pearl has
history more fascinating, spiritual, and regal than any other gem. Never did the crown heads of Europe imagine the new world as the Land of Pearls but pearls from the United States have been sold all over the world.
1897 saw the start of "pearl fever" in Arkansas when Dr. J. H. Myers found a pinkish pearl in Black River. While his was not the first pearl discovered, he is credited with starting the industry. The "pearl rush" was on. Farmers left their crops unharvested; bankers, lawyers, and merchants closed their doors, and hundreds of families relocated to shanties and tents along the White and Blacks Rivers to search the vast mussel beds.
During the early years, pearl hunters could wade out to the mussel beds and pick shells by the thousands. What the river yielded in its great and generous gift was astounding. These pearls become world famous when English royalty selected one of the unusual natural White River pearls to be mounted as a crown jewel.
White River pearling thrived from 1897 to the 1970's. The Gemological Institute of America classified the White River as one of the top seven freshwater pearl streams in the United States.
Natural pearls are works of art, needing very little from man to enhance their beauty. Each natural pearl is
different - one of a kind. They come in all shapes and sizes, and are fanciful. Shapes referred to as rosebud, snail, angel wing, turtleback, dog's teeth and other baroque shapes work beautifully for earrings pendants, and pins.
The natural pearl, long a symbol of beauty and wisdom, continues to fascinate gem lovers to this day.