I found a purple pearl in a clam I was eating-The Quahog Thread
This thread has collected all our other threads on cherrystone (aka quahog) clam pearls.
If your find is purple or purple and white and not cooked, it may be worth something.
I was at that show and didn't see this quahog pearl!
"The Purple Pearl of Newport wowing the crowds
By BRYAN ROURKE
The Providence Journal
March 22, 2005
- The Purple Pearl went West and wowed the jewelry world.
The rare, enormous and potentially priceless purple quahog pearl acquired for $14 from a costume-jewelry basket in 2000 by Alan Golash of Newport, R.I., has begun its global publicity tour. When that ends at auction in about two years, experts say, the gem could command more than $1 million.
Early indications are encouraging.
Last month, Antoinette Matlins of Woodstock, Vt., author of "The Pearl Book: The Definitive Buying Guide" and keeper of Golash's find, attended the Tucson International Gem Show. It's the world's largest gem show, lasting two weeks and involving more than two-dozen jewelry organizations.
"Anybody and everybody from a gem-producing land was there," Matlins said.
The Purple Pearl was there, too, making its official debut.
"Everyone at the table went 'wooo,' " said Robert Weldon, senior writer at Professional Jeweler Magazine. "The reaction was certainly positive. Regardless of what it is, it's certainly an item of rarity."
The Purple Pearl isn't technically a pearl. Gemologists say pearls must come from an oyster or a mussel. Quahogs, however, are also capable of producing them, though rarely. Quahogs are thick-shelled edible clams.
"There's a handful of quahog pearls out there," said Gina Latendresse, president of the American Pearl Company in Nashville, Tenn. "That makes them very interesting and very rare. I don't know what will come of it."
According to Matlins, the jewelry industry's three largest magazines are all writing articles about the Purple Pearl. The Smithsonian Institute is considering including it in its "Natural Pearls" exhibit. The American Museum of Natural History is also reportedly interested in exhibiting it. And the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Association is now conducting a scientific study on it, with a report expected next month.
Golash's partner, who wishes to remain anonymous, bought a brooch from a basket of costume jewelry at a former antiques shop in 2000. His partner recognized that the brooch was made of gold, Golash said, paid $14 for it and brought it home.
Golash, who professionally restores antique jewelry, cleaned the brooch, and verified it was made of 18-karat gold, enamel and three small rose-cut diamonds. Based on its construction and Victorian styling, it's believed to have been created between 1850 and 1875.
However, the brooch's most notable features are two purple pearls. Both are all-natural, not cultured with an implanted bead, as is the modern practice. And one of the pearls is huge, 14 millimeters, about twice the size of average rare natural pearls.
What makes this pearl even rarer is that it's purple. That's because it comes from a quahog, which doesn't often produce pearls, but when it does, purple's the color.
"No one knows what its value is," Matlins said. "Everyone (at the Tucson show) agreed it wasn't unreasonable to expect $250,000 without any promotion to make the world aware of it. And these are gemologists who are notoriously conservative."
Golash's pearl is insured, but Matlins won't disclose its appraised value.
For the next two years, Matlins said, the plan is to tour Golash's pearl in museums and traveling exhibits, then auction it in Hong Kong, where pearls are most prized.
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.)"
Last edited by Caitlin; 11-02-2007 at 05:40 PM.
I wonder if it will make it to the JCK Show in Las Vegas...I would love to see that pearl! Caitlin, do you happen to know if there are any pictures of this pearl around?
I remember seeing pictures of this pearl on the internet. I will try to track down the photos. It is a beautiful pearl.
I found this site with a picture of the Quahog pearls. Scroll down about half way to the photo.
Couldn't resist just putting it here!
Absolutely amazing! I hope it tours this way. I have never seen one in person before.
Two years ago I found this pearl in a clam that I opened at my home. I got the clam at a quahog bed that my family has been fishing for years. Clamming has been a family tradition for generations and I have enjoyed it for all of my life. I was totally shocked when the pearl fell out as after all these years I had only heard of quahog pearls through family stories. It seems my grandmother found a tiny one about 60 years ago .My wife and I loved the beautiful purple color and luster so I brought it to a local jeweler and had it set in a ring as a Christmas gift for my wife.
Last edited by dennisd; 04-19-2005 at 03:37 AM.
reply to dennisd
This pearl is absolutely beautiful. Nice shape, color, luster, and uniformity. This pearl is a remarkable display of quahog pearls truly unique and breath taking beauty.
Originally Posted by dennisd
Thank you for the picture of your Quahog pearl, Dennis. It is indeed an incredibly special pearl. You are a member of a very elite club!
This is a link to a page dating back to 2003. Several people who read about the Quahog pearl brooch wrote to a forum to mention their own Quahog pearls:
Unfortunately, there are no pictures of those folks' pearls. I hope some of them find this forum and send photos.
Last edited by Caitlin; 04-19-2005 at 05:10 AM.
Reason: clarify punctuation
Thanks for your kind words . I checked that site you mentioned. It would be great if more pics came forward.I also would love to see them. I am going to post additional shots of our pearl. It shows different shades of purple depending on the light.
Did you know that the purple part of the quahog was used by native Americans as a form of currency called wampum. I understand that the deeper the purple the more it's value.
Last edited by dennisd; 04-23-2005 at 02:33 AM.
Yes, I knew about wampum, but I am very glad you mentioned it. That is the primary association with Quahog clams, the source of their fame (not to mention those great stuffed clams). Seashells have often been a bartering tool and no seashell embodies that more than wampum. If I get a chance, I'll lok for some pix of wampum later- unless someone else beats me to it!
To make wampum, the shells were hand cut and hand shaped into beads. I have seen primitive drills made like the "bow and arrow" way to start fires in museums and I think it was the standard until the industry went electric. Now that is a truly ancient technology!
I do think that pearls and seashells, and beads made from seashells are probably our oldest sources of fine jewelry dating back to very ancient times. Seashells, both whole and shaped, have been found in abundance among the ancient cultures of high and dry Arizona, far from any source. And a certain amount of modern day jewelry is still following the very ancient pattern.
Back in the 60's I had a spondalus shell about 2 1/2" across that had been shaped into a flying sparow-like bird and had hand-cut little peices of turquoise set into the back. It was a truly ancient style peice and one of my favorites, ever.
Today's modern heishi is the pinnacle of the art of making cylinder beads from shells. Today, machine made heishi is often the filler bead in Southwestern style jewelry. (It is not a misprint for keishi, which is the free-form pearls that mussels and oysters often make) I do not know what shell the beige and tan heishi is made from, but I also have several strands of spondulus shell heishi beads from Peru. These come in both deep purple and shades of orange and are shaped into little cylinders by hand.
I am enclosing a photo of the purple spondulous heishi. I dare says this was trade goods too!
Last edited by Caitlin; 04-19-2005 at 04:19 PM.
I found this from the Oneida Nation
And this Quote:
"Wampum consists of beads made from mussel shells found along the coast of New England. White beads came from several species of whelk. The purple beads derived from the hard-shell or quahog clam similar to the one shown here. The wampum objects were woven on a bow-like loom. Sinew was used for the horizontal threads. Vertical strands were composed of a vegetal fiber (perhaps milkweed or hemp). Wampum was connected to the spoken word. A piece of wampum testified to the truth and importance of a message which was "read into" the object itself. A very important message, such as a treaty, required a large amount of wampum often in the form of a belt. View a larger version of the wampum detail photograph.
I am on a roll!
Here another result frum googling wampum on google images:
Thanks for the wampum tutorial. You are certainly a wealth of info.
As promised, here is another shot of our quahog pearl.
Last edited by dennisd; 04-26-2005 at 02:48 AM.
Reason: Correct the images
my moms quahog Pearl
Hello-I wrote a previous thread about my moms quahog pearl...she found this as a child during the depression in the ocean off the Massachusetts shore...her mom was a single parent during those years to her and her 4 sisters..and clamming for meals was what they had to do...mom found this in a quahog clam...she kept it her entire life...my brother had it placed in this bubble so she could wear it..I've tried to open it for a better picture but it is "glued" shut or just so old it won't open it is distorted looking in the attachment but the pearl is in a bubble within this bottle..it hasn't been opened in over 30 years or more....it is a perfect little teardrop with the coloring going from a very light pastel purple to a very dark Purple..the gradual darkening in color is absolutely symmetrical and perfect all the way up.....Mom passed away at the age of 83 July 18 2005 from Alzheimers..I'm interested in selling this because I'm a single mom and need to pay for moms medical bills and burial...I wish I didn't have to part with it..but to pay those bills I must...here is a picture...Thanks for looking...any comments or ideas would be very much appreciated..Thank-you sincerely..Dagan
Last edited by dagan; 08-14-2005 at 05:56 PM.
Reason: needed to add more
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