The Tennessee Pearl is Tennessee’s official state gem and is unfortunately becoming a rare commodity. While most jewelers have given up on the Tennessee Pearl, Pardon’s has still been able to keep an impressive supply available. In fact, Pardon’s is just about the only place in East Tennessee where you can still find Tennessee Pearl jewelry. Customers travel from all over the country to shop Pardon’s Tennessee Pearls. They make spectacular rings, earrings, pendants and pins.
Tennessee Pearl History:
The Tennessee Pearl is taken from mussels in the fresh water rivers of the state. During the years between 1882 and 1914, beautiful pearls were taken from many of the state’s streams, from the Pigeon and Holston in the east to the Forked Deer and Obion in the west. The Caney Fork in Middle Tennessee was noted for its pearl-bearing mussels, and “pearling” was a favorite sport for young people on Sunday afternoons at the turn of the century. Tennessee Pearls are of all colors and they are “natural” as the mussel made them—all Pearl, all the way through. They have been found in various shapes—spherical, pear-shaped, and baroque or irregular. After World War I, dams were built on many of the rivers, and the mussels lost their swift and shallow shoals. Tennessee Pearls are among the most beautiful and durable in the world.