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MWC Eco-brief: Upper Mississippi River Freshwater Pearl Industry

In the early 1900s, freshwater mussels in the Upper Mississippi River were over exploited to the point of near extinction to make pearl buttons from their thick shells. When it was too difficult to find enough mussels to make pearl buttons, plastic buttons were invented to take their place. The following video describes how the mussels form mother of pearl and a slideshow of historic imagery related to the Early 1900s pearl button industry.

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