St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on January 8, 1905 · Page 52
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 52

St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 8, 1905
Page 52
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1 i f 3 Zoas cKow a Great 1 Pearl Market Jp J ' '' h i 81 : T : W ff ffXBZk 4&5fc iJ Kfe 1 FAMOUS QUEEN SOPHIA YQ ' r I: (:v '1 urC V t7n"7ST , 4 1 1 . V " ur fV yr i ii clkansas Pearl Fisheries at Last Acknowledged as the Richest Known Produced Gems That Formed a $150,000 Necklace Sold to a Prince and Now Internationally Famous One cM ssissippi River Pearl f the 44 Que -n Mary," Valued at $50,000 Why the Arkansas dear's. Excels All Others Go'd cMedals Won at World's Fair. ..LOUIS is now. for th first tinn, 1h- confer of one of tlip richest m-produciiiL'- regions in the worl 1. Tin disi-ovory of th Arkansas pcnrl lias l)rou.trht this about. The Ar-knnsns nearl is now. at last. a Peopled in ?'!' U'o -jreat prei'iom itmu markets of Kurope's capitals as tlie finest parl !nonn. It has relegated the Oriental pearl to s-con l plao-. It figures in a royal necklace, from whirl, all oth"r j-oarls were excluded, the va!u-- of which is .l."i).-000. and which is now famous the world over One of the pearls in this necklace sold outriuhl in Arkansas for $3000. But there is another Arkansas pearl, the renowned "Queen .Vary." 'vMp;hiri;jr 103 "trrains, lor which a ('hici-o min paid if"'.!.). 000. and which is row valued ;. t ."0.000. ';::vc sold for almost equally astonishing The value of the Arkansas pearl lies in the ';l-t of superior coloring. The Oriental pearl has hut two varieties, the black and the white. The Arkansas, or Mississippi river pearl, found in muss-1 shells, ran pros from the purest white to the most beautiful sky-blue and pink, as avcII as the deepest purple and velvet black, exquisite shades hitherto unknown to the jewelers of Europe. The A'Kansa.s pearl fisheries, all lyinjr within St. Louis" immediate territory along the Mississippi river, have been developed almost unknown to the general public. The fact of their fabulous wealth, brought into evidence by the United Slates Fish Commission's exhibit at the World's Fair, now comes to popular notice almost like a tle from wonderland. The annual output of Arkansas pearls already pxeeeds $2,500,000, and the total of this year's pearl fishing in St. Ixmis' territory is expected to vastly exceed the record already established. Ordinary fishermen within a few miles of St. Ixmis have L;n suddenly enriched by trn finding of a lingle pearl in the shell of a Mississippi river mussel. The tales told of the riches of this new field would be incredible were their truth not established bevond all shadow of doubt. T HE uuoci of the situation thns created i tiwt there ha iiot tx'en a rush to the ArkJisns frl fisheries urjuiitvr that which followed the dii-ov- ery of gold in the Klondike. No nijil.'l in reipiirwl to enrre in pearl tilunj; aJong tlie Miiippi rier. A cheup rowboat, a p;'r of oyster tonp. prvi?tfvn aupply consistinj; of a t;irril of rlour or mal, a "side" of bacon, a few pound t nr and coftee, will equip any man to essay his fortune a an American pearl fthr. A tent or a bantr-lat will furnish adequate shelter The laWir otta-hel tj the undertaking is ineonsidenthle. All thit is neiTsijry i the ruwinpr of the bout to a point utmve a tel tii iinieel. th hitninp of the toiiirs or boka user tlie ind of the tnwt until they m-rap- the river'a lttom jid thn the txwt i al!owet to drift the ioiI led until the tonv re fl'ietl with lle,.U fti'd can I 9 drawn up with tlM'-i" burden of ihV weilth. S3 A PEARL FISHER NEAR HOOK5 ATID LINES. HAN HAT WAS FINDER OF A $3,000 PEARL. rirei;e is n. difficulty in disposing of a rich timi. li lovts are already in St. lxuis who deal exclusively in these Arkansas pearls. Many instances are of recent record where they h:ive paid fishermen for single pearls prices r:in;infr from $1M t-o .4.(M(. All this seems bevond lielicf. doesn't it? 'e1 it is but the xil c r truth, proved by facts of trade record. It is o true and et so astonishing that one is tempted to be-l eve that t hose m-t itally interested in the matter have inteu'.i innilv refrained from exploiting the Arkansas pearl fislu ris. leaping a richer harvest Iwcausc of the general ignora lice. They could buy more Hieaply under thee con lit ions -and all t'ne mirkets of the world were open to then fur the disposal of the pearls thus secured, H-arls confessed to ! without an equal in the world. Why exploit a t reasin e-field which was all the richer for lack of exploitation? And thus it was that, until the United States government at the World's Fair in St. Ixmis made a public revelation of the extent of the Arkansas pearl-fisheries on the Mississippi river, the general public was in utter ignorance of the amazing truth. And this, too, in spite of the fact that the Arkansas pearl-fishing industry lias harl a consistent and gradual growth covering a period of at least 14 years. As far ba'.k as IS.16 pearls were found occasionally in American rivers and in IStkS aJid lss there were periods of excitement when large numbers of people went pearl fishing. But it was not until 1S90 that Missouri. Illinois ami Arkansas began to take to the industry in an organized form. J. F. Boepple founded a button factory at Muscatine. Io., in that year. Mussel shells were gathered in large quantities and the mother-of-pearl industry legan to grow until now the industry employs thousands of persons with a weekly payroll of about $o0,0O0. Soon after this tlie fishermen began to report the discovery of pearls. Frank Koeckeritz of St. Louis, known a "Frank the Pearler," was the pioneer of the new trade and through his hands hava poised some of the most valuable gems which have now led the jewelers of the world to change, their ideaa in regard to the American pcsirl. Mr. Koecknrit r, by reaon of his knowledge of pearls, was chosen by the United States Fish Commission t take charge of the collection of American pearls at the World's Fair. This collection waa almost entirely composed of specimens selected by him and included nianv uniqiie varieties, ft has now been sent to the Portland Exposition. The fishing of pearls is tedious work. A boat 12 to 14 feet long is used, on each side of which, resting on two aup-rts are two heirs of gas pi(e or wood about 12 feet long and attached to the boat by a rope in the center. On these two rods are fastened a sort of fishing hook, called a crowfoot, with three points, suspended 00. linea three or four inch apart. The boat is rowed to a spot in the river, where tlie fisher expects to make a hul and then both pole with their hooks are dropped to the bottom. The boat in then allowed to drift downstream, the hooks scraping the lot totn. The mussel lying half open upstream, when touched by any of these hook cloaca and if the book is well within the he!l it i nulled up. When ta-ken aahore the inuseis are boiled, the net thrown out and the enwty he! pass through the lisuida of the sorters 8rv;.Ii:- pJ&Jte ACROFSLSCVm ; 1 K 5' SX- 1 A VALUABLE PEARL JN ARKANSAS. gVTl i 1 f J if T - '-v f " E - i nii-mrmr.iff-Hmm,. rni - r mrtt &afla V 'mm,, i - MV;V I 11 1 - l.:f "1 il;:-i- J y l ? " (V2- WZTGHIM; PFARL& Q ' UW lldJ JV LARGE KAX ISBQEPPLEFOUXnfii OFTHE JNDUrSlTZY: who are careful not to overlook anything in tin- shape of a pearl or "baroque." .is tha irregular and granulated pearls are called. In -hallow water another method is employed. A kind oi shoulder rake U u-ed formed somewhat, iike a haj-ket of ii-on rods and cRa!le of enclosing alxmt half a bushel of mussels at a tin.e This method is adopted almost ex-clu-iel by the men whose business is concerned with the finding of pearl- onl ami who do not gather 1 lie uiu-el shells for button making. The.-e "pearlers" will often work month after month and never find anything of value until one day a tisher discovers a pearl which will make him a capitalist. The famou-. "Queen Marx" pearl was found in this wav. A pearler who had sorted through his day's catch and found nothing was preparing to leave work, when his wife happened to gie a finaj look over the heap of shells and there found a pearl weighing 10" grains. A pearl dealer from St. Ixvuis who soon after saw the gem, gave the woman $7u. she making the condition that tlie. pearl be named after her. As "Queen Mary" the pearl was sold to a Chicago nan for 2"),rHX) and it is now val tied at :O.(O0 It was over this pearl that Mr. Koecke-ritz made the mistake of his lite. He might have had the gem for S70O but while he was having some lunch and thinking the matter over, the other dealer came along and snapped up the bargain. Another story of Mr. Koeckeritz concerns one of the earliest discoveries of pearls in the Mississippi. It appears that the farmers were in the habit of feeing tluir hog. upon mussels taken ir m the river. One day a farmer notice.! one of his hogs munching something hard. The next minute the animal spat out a $1200 pearl. A veritable casting of pearls before swine. Mr. Koeckeritz wears as a acarfpin a pink pearl which was offered to him for five dollars. A fisherman came to him with a clam-shell on which was fix! a granulated 'baroque" and bide it a toothshap I'p-"1 apparently low value. Bargaining with the man. he was not able to get the specimen for less than the first named f.gure. Impatient at the delay, the man struck the muscl shell a Wow and broke off the tooth, when from within its shiny surface dropped a perfectly formed psn. huh. u wa, a case of a pearl within a pearl. Mr. Ivoeckentz was ready vndv MaQAzmcST. LOUIS POST -DISPATCH Jiixar? n NECKLACE ARKANSAS $iso,ooo. for business ly t li! time and paid the man .100 fr the treasure. ' Unlikf tt her coins. 1 he e;irl nimnvt. lie exit. It is siiri-jtosed tluit .'i i;irli(le of foreitrn inatU-r pets into the shell and the clani at onee. in its d:iHinfort lerins to cover the obje-t iiniill intruder with the eunous secretion known as "iiaere." Oxer the first layer eomes a second and so on. The result is a crein built up very much in the form of the onion bill cemented together so closely as t make a solid piece. If the outer coiitini: be l.ickitm in lustre, it is sotnetimes possible to remove it and find a letter layer heneatn. but more often the dealer who seeks to improve the value of his property, will find that he has rob'ocd the gem of all value. Often, indeed, the gem is rotten in.-ide. The only wav in which a pearl of small value may lie made to appear a rood one is by netting the gem so that its imperfections are hidden by gold cosing. It is only the outer :ii siny that has the l; so much admired, except in tee rarest instances. 'Iwo years ago the output, of pearl buttons in the Mi-isippi valley wa.- .st.:.0O,ft(H) and of pearls $2,500,000. Next war, fashion having again taken a turn, the output of pearls fs expo ted to exceed that of any previous year. There is a legend among the fishermen that e:irls will alwava seek their native element and that unless carefully handled they will escape into the -atcr again. Hundreds of valuable gems lie at the bottom of tlie water- of the Mississippi they s y, having escaped from the hands of carele-s searchers. Many of the finest pearls are toimd within the flesh of the mussels. Every mussel is therefore subjected to a careful scrutiny, being squeezed through tiie fingers of the fishermen. It often Impawns that a H-ail wiil lejip from the lin-.e'"- of the men !ik an oran-e pip .ui! fall Uu-k into ti e water never to Ik- recovered. The pearl ti-heis woik ti-m March to Septemlier. lu 1 tew enthusiasts are to i-e found smirching during the winter months Hy cutting holes in tlie ioe and UMng a rake, -mall qu.itit it ies ! she) Is can W brought to tiie Hiirtace but the wm'er finds ate few. A Urge number of Arkansas pearls are exported to the Amaterda m market" and even to the Fast Indies, whence they are re-shippi d an-1 find I heir way Itack to the UUs as ")ricn tal p-ari" " the public not yet being wUiafied that the home-produced article i epial to the foreign speim.n, while as a matter of fact it is superior. This state of things is now rapidly giving way to a realization 'hat the American larl can compete wiU the Oriental "i-ecics in everv market. IV most "nst...nal fin! in th Mississippi river was that of Hcrt Hula , 2- years old. who two years ago found a mnel shell niai the Ilifch IVidge at Mu-atine. from vihkh !tipHvi a peal sri"ct in lle and testure- 1I 8, 190S. FRANK KOFCKERF. sfoiiped "work ar.d went n-horp wi'li lun newly found treasure, lie was prompllj ufVercd ?'oi;ri for it and the gem passed into the p s-essioti of Mr. Koockcrit-.. The rxsirl weighed 40 1-2 grains and is now valued at $-:5nH. This specimen is not what is called a "peeler," that is to say, its layers are so clo-ely cemented together that there is no danger of the outer coat, with its mjgiu.a cut lustre, falling away. Another rare gem was tlie one discovered by Charle Freoman at Prairie du Chien. This was valued at $2700. Some of these pearls have a peculiar iridescence which ia not found in the Oriental variety. The lucky finder of one of these can demand almost any price for his gem. The famous '"Queen Sophia" necklace valued at $150,000 i compose! entirely of Arkansas pearls, the largest of which is n 112 grain pear! and the smallest is of 24 grains. In all there are 1035 grains in the necklace. One of these I earls was discovered by a fisherman near the High Bridge at Muscatine and was eventually sold for $.'!000. The necklace was first ld " TTincc of Monaco of Monta Carlo. Later it found its way to Paris, from that city it was taken to the Fast Indie?, mid thence brought to New York and soid as an Oriental necklace. Mr. Koceherilz has many s(ecimens of sliel's containing "baroques" and peiirls, which refute theories of the Concholog:sts." The shell experts hid I that the formation of the pea 1 1 is accomplished by the movement of the mussel or oystur over the surface of 1 he foreign particle which has entered the shell and is irritat iiiir to th;- animal. As many of these peails are found at the very cdee of the shell or dee ih embedded in the apex and out of the reach of the direct action of the nnimal'i. 1hIv, it. is evident that the process of pearl-making is an involuntary and unconscious effort on the rt of the mussel. Peat Is r probably formed by the exjuil-ion of superfluous quantities of shell-making material, which Ix-ing protected fio, outside impuritii.. retain their lu-;re. The small percent a ;je of valuable pcails found has hitherto prevented anvthinj like a rush o the Mississippi l-arl fisheries. Only I he ymu.ct ru -ally formed "ems fetch large prue-. Those that aie pent -shaped, or of the ''mil-ton" variety are of Ibe gieute l value. a is the perfectly round kind. The surface must be smooth, and the. color must 1 e even. A small jxnirl of perfect form and color is worth more than a j(earl of greater size whose color is not uniform or which has a tendency lo granulation on it surface. Tl:c system of !(oiiiug the shells undoubtedly dest roys quite a large uumb'-i of pearls every year as i n heat generally robs the outer coating of its bistie and Cue in-ide is Haldc to crumble. Nothing but intense heat will haxeetVett upon the pearl and any pearl that crumble if -stepped iifwwi. is nol woith lamenting. It was not a epni:jiip opocimen. With the headqu.ii lets of the American peall fisheries established in this city. St. l.oiii-ans lire able to have first pick of the linest pearls the world produces; and the demand this year for the-e gems shows that the American public are at last realizing whit, treasures their native waters hae 1 otfer them. The World's Fair has made the fame of the Arkansas pc.ul anions iewrleis from Fi;ro who pieviously knew nothing about it- '1 h y icintwd to their homes full of iis pw-ises and it is l.eiiewd that the industry is al(OUt to receive an impetus which will make it one of tha most remarkable in America. Tin- Arkansas pearl received the highest awaid given for pearls at f he World's Fair, lliower of New Yitk. who mad a display of these gems in the Varied Industrie- building, won a gold medal. Kurd of Tittle Po k, who likewi mads a display of Arkansas pearls, also won a gold medal. Ilnlv the fait that the ind-t't v is in ita infancy pmbably ieei;'.cu the aw. '.id oi a g 1.1 lid pi oe to the MisMisippi Yaiitv pearls. Cruelty to Horses. THF. following htic, to tin- editor of the Sunday Post !)i-patcii. b.i-e! npm a teni.t srlicle tellinij ot tie autoinobi.e tide ihrio-.di ;. loui taken by World's lair Fskimos as gi.e-'s . lion paper, points a timely moral: T tn- F'titor of v rc l -.. In an article In the Sunday P-mi - I'.-f -" h. I "rte thst the Kskirr.os sr nm-'tct as MNin 1. t th !i,it. i lie ,.r our civilization." Alat Italt). t:-ev : H : vv n v ai wmr drivers lull of l r ...d wS-.-ky? 1. lb- h-n,- i,v more ,e.e th-tl UieyT' 'Ibwt a- a v-ry tersa ! jiortinent nlcnuiinti inocfi ono ha. only to l-le a tr,;. I'-r th I. nis rids. or , ,,, r.vr l6-lH 'o . ..-cover low t..- ,-...r. mo-, ,tur;.M ra l ' "' "f "r :n.o i ..luoe.i i ... i i tl z.i t ion ' r ... -. .i j. ,f, t .-lots Oi.e m .rioiiK, not lot nmr, i c... t . t,t r.lwe; It was a co)0 (r ;.s .tiek Ith U-f. o to e ii .iv tii-o-iiii,u. an.; tl.e tt i.: ji - Ihr horn- "e j iiiaca ,,tiv 01 ifia . t'-T r.-i::. f..r !. 'a ' i i ; rtriverc won t.'--ir few )y I .V-i.lert !,i l-ey eervel a el '(''. r.-. J id-.i". i not io- .1 dill of rre.uently,.H'' be Hiioon.. t. .!;!' r t.t ).is whip to hi si ' in' l ' t'l noMlhilitv. fi-r !! fi'i l i 1 1 rm .. .-- n ini- tltll . 4 I ' el f - ( their astetf-. Jwfore tie i. . i"Huil i;..ur reached tb t'P Th owner of Ifurfin are to 1' - "fsi',.l for cm-tdovlnsr m ln drink t-? .-.! w fo-a-. . N '! titers out f ten. w- hen you find m.ii t-.i ! ',; ,.n. Jlni-li( !. h(,r. you will find vtf a ur i liifi iixn. .i'id t' l t -name f'.w who iom t ii!.t 1 1 J . w.f (nd children, anil In ad pi oi.t tUil v tr,t! t!-in. t(. f r the hor-kxater is nothing iei:t of a ti;i. d i arrant ciwurd. I ofr wonder tf th'tc i ery to ,i,y ,rni who rlly lnier-tl tn I ha nlijic f ;e ,... and t. slat estnt. A Ml.ltH ATul Kml Hi. lu!s. A lu,; '! nai Irmn the bunin; of Its Uus oi 1 KOCmSrCc en iW ' iJ . " Vic

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