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Thread: Scottish Pearls

  1. #1
    First-graft Pearl
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    Default Scottish Pearls

    The thread on Croatian river pearls has a little bit on Scottish river pearls, and the excerpt from Strack got me wondering where I could see some (I'm in Edinburgh). I know the Scottish Crown jewels have natural pearls and you can see them at Edinburgh Castle, but I couldn't find any close-ups of any pieces. There's also the Abernathy pearl that's on display at Cairncross Jewelry store, Perth. Apart from those two I couldn't find any places that exhibit Scottish pearls. I found some interesting articles on poaching and the mussel and one site that's selling natural Scottish pearls. I was surprised to find out that taking the mussels only became illegal in 1998! Anyway, on to the linksHopefully an expert can weigh in, but is there a way to use pearl farming to boost the numbers of the mussels in Scottish rivers and maybe curb poaching?


    Scottish Crown jewels http://www.rampantscotland.com/edinb...edin_crown.htm

    Abernathy pearl http://www.karipearls.com/abernathy-pearl.html

    Scottish pearl jewelry that will go on sale eventuallyhttp://www.alistirtaitgem.co.uk/scotgp.html

    I just got a kick out of this one, it's from a book published in the 1800s that has a bit on Scottish pearls, http://books.google.com/books?id=ZrQ...sult#PPA306,M1

    An article from 2001 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...6/ai_n14382049

    These mussels don't have a chance They take 15 years to reach maturity not to mention that they need salmon and trout (which I think are also on the decline in Scotland) to host the spat. This article from 2005 mentions raids on jewelers in Glasgow and Edinburgh who had caches of Scottish natural pearls.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...n/02/fish.food

    Also from 2005, it mentions that jewelers in Scotland can register to sell natural pearls that were harvested before 2008 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...05/ai_n9499584

    A short article on pearl thieves http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/...ds/5324394.stm

    This last one is from 2008 and unfortunately not much has changed http://www.scottishfoodanddrink.com/...?item_id=56108
    Last edited by borah; 09-05-2008 at 09:55 PM. Reason: added a bit of info

  2. #2
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Deborah,

    Oh! What a treat! Thank you for following up on the tantalizing mention of "freshness" in the Scottish river pearl.

    The luster in those pearls is clearly visible even in the photos. The Australian South Sea Pearl industry is quite lucky that Scottish pearls are so imperiled. The latter appear to eclipse SSPs in every way but size.

    My heart bleeds for the poor mussels! As with all endangered species, it seems the only way to help is to boycott purchase of derived goods. Poaching will only end when there is no market for the pearls. (A plug for antique jewelry!)

    CarolK

  3. #3
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    The photo of Cairncross Jeweler's exterior is so inviting! I love the old, high-end UK stores with their wood paneling, welcoming you in from the chill.

    CarolK

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert jshepherd's Avatar
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    I was in Edinburgh Castle in June and saw the crown with Scottish pearls. Some of them were still nice. I couldn't take any pictures. They weren't allowed for any of the Scottish Honours.

  5. #5
    jerin
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    A little history about the "Honours of Scotland":
    The Regalia was last used for king Charles II´s Scottish Coronation at Scone in 1651, nine years before the restoration to the English Throne. Securely hidden during the Commonwealth, despite all Oliver Cromwell´s efforts to find them, the Scottish Crown Jewels survived his destruction of the rest of the British Regalia. They were later discovered in an oak chest. In 1818, the Prince Regent issued a royal warrant to Sir Walter Scott giving him permission to display the Regalia to the public in Edinburgh Castle, and when as King he visited Scotland 4 years later, the Scottish Crown, Sceptre and Sword were carried in procession before him during his stay in Edinburgh.
    The Scottish Crown, personal emblem of the Sovereign, the Sceptre, emblem of royal power, and the Sword, signifying justice, were presented to the present Queen of England, Elizabeth II after a thanksgiving service at St Giles´Cathedral in Edinburgh, on 24 June 1953, during her Coronation visit to Scotland. By the Treaty of Union they cannot be taken out of Scotland.
    The Sceptre and a gold rose were presented to King James IV by Pope Alexander VI in 1494, and the Sword of State was a gift from Pope Julius II in 1507. The 4˝-lb gold crown is set with semiprecious stones and Scottish pearls.
    The crown was remodelled for King James V in 1540, incorporating, he claimed, fragments of Robert Bruce´s crown, made in 1307, seven years before he defeated the British at Bannockburn and won Scotland´s independence.
    Last edited by jerin; 09-07-2008 at 08:39 AM.

  6. #6
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    Thanks for the post, Jerin.

    I got goosebumps reading your history of the "Honours of Scotland". European history is so interconnected. I thought of Michelangelo when you mentioned Pope Julius II.

    It's amazing and fortunate that humans value and guard "mere" material symbols of sovereignty and self. Items such as the Scottish Honours are "living" proof that humans can rise to the occasion--proof that we can again wrest individuality and identity from these depressing, generic times.

    CarolK
    Last edited by Monty Hall; 09-06-2008 at 10:37 PM.

  7. #7
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member laurenb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarolK View Post
    Deborah,

    My heart bleeds for the poor mussels! As with all endangered species, it seems the only way to help is to boycott purchase of derived goods. Poaching will only end when there is no market for the pearls. (A plug for antique jewelry!)

    CarolK
    I don't think that'll be enough... There will always be a market for beautiful things, regardless of the status of the species. Making it lucrative to raise the mussels is more likely to get them out of danger. Farming agarwood for oud takes forever, but people still do it and that's probably going to be the only salvation of the Aquilaria.

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