Information in this brochure was compiled from several jewelry trade sources.
If you would like more detailed information on any of these types of pearls,
please contact us.
A Little Local History…
, John Frederick Boepple, an immigrant from Germany opened a Mother of Pearl button factory in the Mississippi River Town of Muscatine, Iowa. Soon the industry spread to include other Mississippi River Towns. Lake City was home to several button factories and cutting plants. One building still stands today.
In 1916, button factories turned out 6 billion buttons worth 12.5 million dollars.
Natural river pearls were occasionally found when the shells were being cleaned, an unexpected bonus for the workers. The factories employed 9,500 workers and 9,700 mussel fishers.
The introduction of plastic buttons ended the MOP button industry late in the 1930’s. Habitat destruction, dredging and damming of the Mississippi River are to blame for the declining health of the North American freshwater mussel.
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