On April 12, 2004, Governor Phil Bredesen signed Senate Bill No. 3361 (SB3361), naming the historic Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Farm and Museum "the official site of freshwater pearl culturing in the State of Tennessee." The Farm and Museum is located in Camden at the Birdsong Resort on Kentucky Lake.
The freshwater pearl, taken from mussels in the fresh waters of the state, is the official state gem, as designated by 1979 Public Chapter 192 of the 91st General Assembly.
Tennessee river pearls are taken from mussels in the fresh water rivers and come in various shapes and colors. Unlike cultured pearls, which are partially man-made, these pearls are totally made by the mussel. They are 100% natural pearl all the way through.
("State of Tennessee")
The following information was excerpted from the Tennessee Code Annotated, title 4, chapter 1, part 3, section 4-1-310.
Title 4 State Government
Chapter 1 General Provisions
Part 3 State Symbols
Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-1-310 (2011)
4-1-310. State gem.
(a) The Tennessee pearl is hereby designated as the official state gem. This designation is not intended to prohibit such activities as dredging, filling, damming or other acts that are otherwise subject to regulation and control by the United States corps of engineers, the Tennessee Valley authority, or other governmental entities.
(b) The historic Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Farm and Museum located in Camden, Benton County, Tennessee is hereby designated the official site of freshwater pearl culturing in the state of Tennessee.
HISTORY: Acts 1979, ch. 192, § 1; T.C.A., § 4-129; Acts 2004, ch. 506, § 1.
The State of Tennessee. Tennessee Code Annotated. Nashville:State of Tennessee. Web. 10 August 2011.
"Tennessee Symbols." State of Tennessee. Tennessee Department of Education, n.d. Web. 15 Aug 2011.
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.
Tennessee Freshwater River Pearls - Tennessee State Gem: Tennessee River .
Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Farm and Museum: Official website.
Birdsong Resort, Marina, & Campground: Official website.
State gemstones: Complete list of official state gemstones from NETSTATE.COM.
More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Tennessee state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.