Tennessee Shines with Official State Gem: The Tennessee River Pearl
NASHVILLE, TN – The Volunteer State is not only rich in history and music but also in natural treasures. Among these is the Tennessee River Pearl, designated as the official state gem by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1979. This lustrous gemstone is not only a symbol of natural beauty but also a testament to the state’s aquatic biodiversity.
Unearthing the Gem of the South
The Tennessee River Pearl is found in the freshwaters of the state’s river systems, primarily in the Mississippi River basin. Unlike the marine pearls from oysters, these pearls are produced by freshwater mussels. Their unique luster and array of colors, ranging from pink to lavender and even black, make them a sought-after gem for jewelry and ornamentation.
Cultivating Pearls and Economy
The cultivation and collection of these pearls have a storied tradition in Tennessee, contributing to the local economy and the preservation of the state’s waterways. Pearl farming is a delicate process that requires a clean and healthy aquatic environment, thus promoting conservation efforts.
Q: When was the Tennessee River Pearl designated as the state gem?
A: The Tennessee River Pearl was designated as the state gem in 1979.
Q: Where are Tennessee River Pearls found?
A: They are found in the freshwater river systems of Tennessee, mainly in the Mississippi River basin.
State Gem: A gemstone selected by a state as a symbol to represent its natural geological treasures.
Freshwater Mussels: Aquatic bivalve mollusks that live in freshwater and can produce pearls in their natural environment.
Luster: The way light interacts with the surface of a crystal, rock, or mineral. The luster of pearls is particularly valued for its soft, reflective qualities.