Walker Goldsmiths were visited by a sweet couple who wanted to have Custom Wedding Rings made that reflect their current paths in life together. Melissa and Ken are graduating with Doctorates in Conservation Biology and are “in love with each other and river mussel shell! Slogging up and down river beds doing research for classes introduced them to the beauty of these mollusks” ! Wondering if it was a possibility, they brought some collected mussel shell with them and wanted them inlaid into their Custom Wedding Rings. Owen rose to the occasion and confessed our love for River Mussel Shell and brought out his collection. It was a case of “I’ll show you mine, if you’ll show me yours”! When Owen and I were falling in love we trekked the Pack River area in North Idaho and found wonderful, beautiful lavender mussel shell that we brought back home and enjoy looking at now and then. Ken and Melissa had never seen this color in a mussel shell before as their research was basically the Mississippi River areas where the white with a slight pink is predominant.
They were smitten by the Lavender Mother of Pearl Mussel Shell and said, “please, can we use that instead of the white that we brought?” Owen said, “No problem, we would love to use it.” These Lavender Mussel Shells from the Pack River were a very lucrative trade item for the Pend de’ O’Reille Indians in pre-history and later, because of their unique color. They were fashioned into earrings and ornaments for dance regalia and worn and traded all over the great plains and plateau of North America. There is some controversy about how the Pend de’ O’Reille Indians got their name which means “Hangs from Ears” from the French Fur Traders. Were they named after the lake which is sort of a shape of an ear or was it because they were all wearing Mussel Shell Earrings? It’s a poor trader who doesn’t wear his own goods!
Melissa and Ken described there dream rings with words like; earthy, watery, texture on the sides, not too high, tapering for comfort, and well balanced. So away I went carving the waxes, which Owen lost wax cast in Sterling Silver, and set the mussel shell into the rings. This was a lot of fun and Melissa emailed Walker Goldsmiths saying, “These are beautiful! We love them, thanks a ton!” Thanks a ton to you kids also for the opportunity to do this fun job for you. We love these Custom Wedding Rings and Freshwater Mussel Shell.