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C l i n t o n , I o w a

Howes Jewelers selling Mississippi River Pearls

Owners Edward Madison Howes and Benjamin Durward Howes. After the robust sawmill days of Clinton ended, the brothers closed the store. EM Howes continued with Real Estate and became the Mayor of Clinton.

Benjamin later moved to Los Angeles and founded B.D. Howes & Son Jewelers in 1919. The company eventually grew to 10 stores in California, Arizona and Hawaii.

Howes Bros. Jewelry Store circa 1911 in Clinton, IA.

"HOWES BROS. are the headquarters for choice pearls. They have brought many, and the senior goes out and rakes them in. That one from Albany, Ill., is a particularly fine and valuable one, and E. M. got it by going after it and bidding up on it.
Take your pearls to Howes Bros. "

from The Clinton Mirror P.O. Lyons, Iowa Clinton, Iowa,
Saturday, Sept 23, 1899

Unfortunately, Mississippi River Pearls are no longer harvested
due to 20th century pollution. Although the mighty Mississippi has
been drastically cleaned up, it's pearls have not yet returned.
The Smithsonian Museum is the recepient of a collection of
Mississippi River Pearls
donated by B.D. Howes & Son Jewelers.


The English colonizers along North America's Atlantic coast and French explorers
to the north and west, all found native Americans wearing pearls, and they discovered
freshwater pearls in the Ohio, Mississippi, and Tennessee River basins.
So many gems were exported to Europe that the New World quickly
gained the appellation "Land of Pearls."

Click below to learn more about freshwater pearls.

Freshwater Pearls today

The History of Pearls