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Paterson Pearl


The Paterson Pearl is also known as the 'Queen Pearl.'

The Paterson Pearl is one of the first Freshwater Pearls found in the United States, discovered in Notch Brook, New Jersey in 1857. The discovery of the Paterson Pearl spurred excitement in Americans eager to discover more.

As described in 'The Book of Pearl' by Kunz and Stevenson, the Paterson Pearl is pink and spherical, weighing 23.25 carats.

In 1857, the Paterson Pearl was purchased by Charles L. Tiffany of Tiffany & Co. for $1,500 dollars. American pearl buyers seemed disinterested in the pearl, forcing Tiffany to relocate the Paterson Pearl to it's Paris location for sale. Eventually purchased by Emperor Napoleon III and his wife, Empress Eugenie of France, in 1860, the Paterson Pearl received it's nickname from it's new owners, the 'Queen Pearl.'

The Queen Pearl was passed to a number of individuals in a number of locations throughout the years. Empress Eugenie gifted the pearl to her dentist, Dr. Thomas Evans, who later donated the pearl — along with other pearls from his personal collection — to the University of Pennsylvania Dental School.

The Paterson Pearl's whereabouts from then on were unknown; however, many decades later it is believe to have been found in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York as part of the Evans Collection. The pearl is reported to have the same colors and exact weight as the Paterson Pearl, leading people to believe, it is, in fact, the Queen Pearl.