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by toychica
Last updated 5 years ago

Social Studies
World Culture

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Your text hereNative Americans in what is now the eastern and central United States began using freshwater pearls and shells as adornment over 1000 years ago. Both men and women wore pearl pendants and earrings. They allso used pearls and pieces of shell to adorn their clothing.

Coin-shaped, cultured freshwater pearls in beautiful iridescent shades of gold, pink and blue. These pearls were produced by the American Pearl Company, the only producer in the United States.

By the 1850s a few companies began producing shell buttons from freshwater mussels and a new industry was born. The freshwater mussel fishing industry produced shell for buttons and other objects, mother of pearl for decorative use and freshwater pearls as a byproduct. This industry persisted until the late 1940s when plastic buttons swiftly displaced shell buttons and the market for shell products collapsed.

Basic Information

pearls colors

Fun Facts

The shell products industry began a revival in the 1950s when Japanese cultured pearl producers began buying seed nuclei from a small number of producers in the United States. Mother of pearl and freshwater pearl production continued as byproducts of seed nucleus manufacturing.


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