The United States Pearl Company, Inc., a division of American Shell Company, Inc., was officially incorporated in 1973 in the State of Tennessee. In the beginning, the company mainly supplied mussel shells to the Japanese cultured pearl industry for the purpose of making of shell beads which are used in pearl culturing. A secondary product of the shell business was the natural pearls found in the mussel shells that were collected. These pearls were sold to jewelry designers in the United States and abroad.
James L. Peach, Sr. is a third generation fisherman, having grown up on the Tennessee River, like his father Elgin C. Peach and his grandfather Odie Peach. At the age of 8 years old, James was helping his father harvest shells and natural Tennessee River pearls from the Tennessee River near where I-40 crosses the Tennessee River. That was way back in 1952. James has very fond, vivid memories of his older brother Alton and his father as they worked on the river for a meager living.
Things were hard in rural West Tennessee during that period but the hardships prepared James mentally and physically for the challenges that would come in later years as he persevered to build one of the largest pearl companies in the United States.
United States Pearl Company now supplies fine pearls and handmade pearl jewelry all over the world. Whether it is fine Tahitian and South Sea Pearls, Natural Pearls from many places in the world, or a wide array of Freshwater Cultured Pearls, you can generally find what you are looking for at United States Pearl Company.
All over the world, cultured pearls are referred to as pearls, by the trade as well as people in general. While we connossiers of natural pearls would like to reserve the word “pearl” for only natural pearls, that would be like the “tail wagging the dog”. The word PEARL is used to describe all types of pearls and the word “pearl” cannot be reserved for “natural pearls” only, no matter how hard we try. The current restrictions on the use of the word “pearl” is passé and should be change as the people of the world demand it. Another point of interest, many professionals in the trade believe the word “pearl” should only be used in describing saltwater natural pearls and not freshwater natural pearls! This is a “blatant bias” and should be discouraged strongly.