Witness a remarkable iridescent product of nature as it emerges from the indigenous Washboard mussel. Tennessee’s Official State Gem – the freshwater pearl - is rarely found naturally from these living animals, but grown at the only freshwater pearl-culturing farm operation in the North American continent. The organic gem stone-culturing operation is nestled in the pristine embayment of Birdsong Creek – just off the scenic Tennessee River’s beautiful Kentucky Lake – in Camden, West Tennessee, 9 miles north of Interstate 40 at Exit 133/Birdsong Exit. The Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Museum, Farm, Tour and Jewelry Showroom is located at Birdsong Resort and Marina. Click here to learn about our available Tour Packages.
Freshwater Pearl Farm
Birdsong Resort is the home of The Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Farm - the only freshwater pearl culturing farm in America. Originally founded by John R. Latendresse (1925-2000) as one of eight pilot farm locations in 1979, all productivity measures eventually narrowed to the one location in Birdsong Creek. John and his wife Chessie, had attempted for many years to adapt the Japanese technique to our native waters, and species of mussels. 1984 was the first year a productive harvest was turned. Click HERE for more.
“A Pearl of a Tour”
Visit North America’s only freshwater pearl-culturing facility – the official historical site of pearl culturing for the State of Tennessee (enacted 2004), growing the official State of Tennessee gem (enacted 1979) – the freshwater pearl
A variety of tour packages to choose from including “walk-in’s,” tour bus “tweeners,” our 3-5 hour guided “full” tour, a 1-2 hour “mini” tour, and a range of school-age children’s tours. . Click HERE for more information.
Tour "bookings" require 15 or more persons, but singles or small groups may add on to existing tour bookings. Contact Us for more information or to book a tour.
Items on display depict the freshwater pearls and musseling industry in general educational/ informational terms, follow the story board on techniques of pearl culturing, exhibits from local contribution, and other items of interest related to our Tennessee heritage. Brief video presentation.
Open year around, Monday through Saturday from 8am-5pm and on Sunday from 1pm – 4pm.
Pearl Jewelry Showroom
Freshwater pearl jewelry from around the world to choose from in an array of colors. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings, pendants, rings, and more. Shop the variety or choose a Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl from our own collection. Open 7 days a week, year around. Monday – Saturday 8am – 5pm and Sunday 1pm – 4pm.
An emporium of souvenir items from Birdsong Resort, Kentucky Lake, the Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Farm and related gift items. Also choose from a collection of “Pick Tennessee Products.”
My Visit to the Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Farm
“A Pearl of a Tour”
By: Kristi Sayles
I awoke this morning excited about the tour that I was getting ready to take. I was visiting a real pearl farm! Not just ANY pearl farm, mind you, but the ONLY freshwater pearl farm in North America!
What did I know about pearls? I knew that pearls are round, make expensive jewelry, and that they come from water creatures.
As a school teacher on summer break, I was determined to visit the attraction. After all, it was practically in my own backyard, only ten miles away!
I decided to think of this as a virtual KWL experience. Not familiar with this teaching strategy? I’ll explain...
Click HERE for entire story.