Gallery Events

A pioneer of the American Freshwater Pearl: James Peach

Pearl Society presents: A pioneer of the American Freshwater Pearl:  James Peach

Sunday April 14th from 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Natural American Angel Wing pearl necklace
Natural American Angel Wing pearl necklace

Don’t let the easy Tennessee charm and genuine down home manner deceive you: James Peach means business, pearl business.  From mussels with names like pigtoe, washboard, ebony, heelsplitter, pistol grip, and the colorfully named  pimpleback, James has spent a life gathering the shells that will be milled into the nucleus at the heart of every marine cultured pearl.

His American Shell Company is a worldwide supplier of  U.S. mussel shell for nuclei, and his United States Pearl Company, now trading in every kind of pearl, is the specialist in cultured and natural American pearls.

Peach started his pearl farm in Tennessee in 1981, ending up in Big Sandy, a  large operation with a fishing resort, on a  TVA lease on Kentucky Lake.  Mussels that had been retrieved from murky river bottoms by divers were carefully pried open and nucleated, put in cages tied to floating PVC pipes until a pearl had time to grow around the nucleus.  This is not an easy business.  A few years ago, Peach closed the farm due to economic conditions.

But the shell business continues, and as the divers bring back their finds, occasionally a natural freshwater emerges.  Not in the great numbers of the storied Great Pearl Rush, but enough that attendees to this presentation will be able to see and handle, and perhaps acquire, a remarkable array of rare natural pearls brought especially to this Pearl Society meeting

James Peach is himself an avid collector of natural pearls.  He appreciates all types of pearls and feels, “the more pearls the better.  “And a greater supply of natural pearls will make the pearl world much more interesting!”

Join us in this rare appearance by a true pearl pioneer and a charming Southern gentleman.  For reservations,  please contact Diane at (847) 869-7920 or RSVP Online: