Gem News - Missouri Pearls

By: Brenda Reichel
Special to the
Oahu Island News

The state of Missouri has fluorite and natural pearls which are often found in the rivers of the Ozarks. The fluorite found in Missouri is called Blue John. This gem material is near colorless, but has veins of yellow/brown markings, with strong bluish/violet color in crystal formation. The gem material lends itself to be carved on large pieces. There is a fine example of a Blue John vase in the Geological Survey Museum at South Kensington, London, England.

Natural pearls are found in the freshwater mussels of the rivers and lakes of Missouri. These pearls are often round in shape, although they can also be found in various other shapes. Natural pearls from the United States generally vary in color from white, to pink to beige. The size of the pearls can vary from 2mm to 3mm, and as big as 6mm. The luster can vary from very bright to dull. Now, you can rarely find natural pearls in the rivers and lakes of Missouri. However, there are a few experimental pearl farms in the region.

Chert (a form of Flint, with some chalcedony) is also found in Missouri and has been used for making arrowheads by the plains Indians of years past. The majority of the gem material is a combination of silica and varying amounts of chalcedony. There are still arrowheads to be found in the Ozark Mountains and rolling hills of Missouri. Another name for this gemstone is also called Mozarkite, which is a combination of the name Missouri and Ozark. The colors are red, yellow, orange with a strong concentration of blue to purple.

Brenda Reichel, owner of Carats & Karats fine jewelry, is a graduate gemologist, member of the International Society of Appraisers, and proprietor of an AGA certified gem laboratory. She can also be heard on 1080am every Saturday night from 6 to 7pm. Phone 593-8122.