Company® specializes in cultured and natural pearls from the United States
and we carry a variety of pearls:
Abalone, Conch, Melo Melo, Manodeleon,
Scallop, Lion's Paw, Baja, La Paz, Saltwater, American Freshwater origin
in - wings, rosebuds, rounds, buttons, turtlebacks, snails and more
Origin -in fancishapes- coin, bar, marquise, drop, cabochon, navette
and triangle, Akoya, Japanese, Natural color black Tahitian, South
Sea, fancicolor, fancishape?, Chinese -in shapes- rounds, semi rounds,
drops, buttons, crosses, sticks and more.
||Black, grey, white & rosea.
Our American Story:
No gem captures the imagination like the lustrous creation of the
mollusk-the American Pearl. Naturally occurring pearls are the most
precious because of their rich color and orient displaying an incredible
rainbow of iridescence born from deep layers of the protective nacre of
the mussel. Natural pearls are rare and the supply in the marketplace is
limited. However, American Pearl Company® has spent 50 years collecting
natural pearls from our own rivers and lakes, maintaining a sizable
inventory. We have also expanded our line to include the first cultured
For 30 years our research and
development program refined and reinvented the culturing techniques
introduced from Asia. The results have been astounding. Not only did we
improve upon our culturing process, by allowing the pearls to grow for
three to five years in monitored waters, but our own native river mussels
have produced remarkably beautiful cultured pearls of superior quality and
unique shape offered only by American Pearl Company®. Much of our success,
however, is due to the patience and hard work of every staff member of the
American Pearl Company®.
The American Pearl® story begins
with the lone diver (1). The mother shells are harvested by individually
selecting mussels from the rivers (2). The natural habitat is not
destroyed by dredging the river floor, and the younger mussels are left to
continue breeding. With great care, the mussels are placed into nets (3)
allowing ample room for each mussel to feed, grow and reproduce at a
higher rate than in their natural habitat. The pearl farm is constantly
monitored for water quality and temperature (4). The cultured pearl begins
with a mother-of-pearl nucleus (5). In fact, about 95% of the worlds round
cultured pearls were nucleated with a bead carved from the shell of an
American mussel. The nucleation process is a skill that takes many years
to master (6, 7, 8). Surgery is performed on mussels strategically
placing a fancishape? mother-of-pearl nucleus within the soft tissue.
Because of their great size the American mussels can be multi-nucleated
with a variety of shapes, producing bountiful harvests of pearls. After
surgery, the sensitive nucleated mussels are eased back into their natural
environment by way of the "intensive care unit"(9). If the
mussel survives the operation, it is placed in a net at the pearl farm
where they will work their magic for 3-5 years.
Many Asian bead-nucleated
cultured pearls are grown for only 1 year or less resulting in less
durability and beauty. The pearls created by American Pearl Company® are
heirlooms - for future generations to enjoy. Waiting is always difficult.
When the 3-5 year growing period is up, the pearls are anxiously harvested
and sorted (10). Our cultured pearls are available in a variety of
original shapes, our most popular is the exclusive Dom Pearl is immediately recognized as a cultured pearl of high quality, rich luster,
and breathtaking orient.
The Dom Pearl begins as a large blister pearl in the shell of the
mussel (11). The shell is thoroughly cleaned (12), the rough shapes of the
Dom? Pearls? are cut from the shell (13), the final shape for each Dom
Pearl is meticulously calibrated, and the edges are polished to a smooth
finish (14). After the Dom Pearl is perfected, it is graded, sized,
and matched by our pearl specialists (15). It is then ready for the
artistry of its gold, platinum and silver setting.
We also created a unique and elegant line of American cultured pearls
formed loose in the tissue of the mussel. These fancishapes - Marquise, teardrop, bar, navette, cabochon, triangle and our most
popular coin - lend themselves beautifully to the innovative work of
modern jewelry designers (16, 17).
The grading of a cultured or
natural pearl depends upon its luster, orient (the deep play of color seen
in fine pearls), shape and color as well as its size and clarity. The
short-term growth period of the many Asian bead-nucleated cultured pearl
creates a very thin nacre coating, clearly shown in the cross section
(18). In contrast, a natural pearl will have thick layers of nacre, shown
as growth rings in the cross section (19), which give the pearl
durability, beauty and value. At American Pearl Company® we combined
these desirable qualities of the natural pearl and the predictability of
the cultured pearl by cultivating for years instead of months. Also, we
never bleach or dye our pearls, maintaining their natural beauty and
durability. The nucleus for each cultured pearl is a calcium carbonate
substance, such as mother-of-pearl. If a grain of sand or a pebble should
end up inside the mussel; the shell will perhaps secrete nacre around the
pebble but will not adhere (20).
Our work does not end after the
pearls are harvested. We use American artisans and goldsmiths to create
our line of exclusive jewelry. Every step in our jewelry production is
done the United States-sculpting the initial wax design (21), using the
"lost wax" process (22) in casting the "trees" of
mountings with 14K - 18K gold (23, 24), polishing and setting the
mountings with pearls and gems (25), and putting the finishing touches to
each masterpiece (26).
Some of our designer pieces are hand fabricated. The gemologists on staff
inspect all gems-pearls, diamonds and colored stones-that become part of
the jewelry (27). Our pearls are so durable, that we're even able to clean
the jewelry with ultrasonic with no harm to the pearls (28). Each piece
receives a final inspection before being offered to the retailer.
We Are Your All American Source For
Fine Pearls Both Natural and Cultured.
Please visit the touring exhibition below. The Latendresse Family Pearl
Collection has nineteen pearl items on display. The John Latendresse
Estate has kept the collection in a vault unseen for over fifty years. The
"Pearls: A Natural History" tour was organized by the American Museum of
Natural History in New York City in 2001.
Pearls: A Natural History Tour
Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, WI
March 5, 2005 to June 26, 2005
National Science Museum, Tokyo, Japan
September 17, 2005 to December 31, 2005
Natural History Museum of London, London, England
April 15, 2006 to August 6, 2006
in American natural pearls, cultured fancishapes? and our exclusive
cultured Dom? Pearls? in a variety of shapes all harvested from the
native waters of Tennessee. Our collection of natural pearls have been
collected over the last 51 years and include collections from families
who collected natural pearls since the mid 1800's.
in our standard catalog lines with cultured Dom? Pearls? and American
natural pearls, one-of-a-kind custom pieces at limited availability.
The American Pearl Company® knows the importance of teamwork and
personal service. We're committed to working with you to reach the
individual customer and create excitement for this unique product. We
are only a phone call or e-mail away to answer any questions that you
or your customer may have.