Dixie Divers is a special debuting on the Discovery Channel on September 28th. The special hopes to capture the life of some remaining pearl and mussel divers in Tennessee.
I met a U.S. Dixie Diver, John, last year during my visit to Benton County, Tennessee. Since then I have been in touch with a few different U.S. divers as I both learn more about pearls in the U.S. and work on my new All-American Pearl Collection which will launch in January, 2014.
Diving in the cold, dark waters of the Tennessee River certainly does not have the same luster as Australian pearl divers. Although all diving jobs are difficult, diving in a river presents many challenges and one of those major challenge is poor visibility. If you want to hear John's account of diving, see the post Meet An American Pearl Diver.
I find that most men in this area are classic fishermen and life on the water is a life choice like no other. There is the lure of finding pearls but there is also just the desire to fish and whatever primal instinct spur that on. As you may know, the driving force behind the pearl and mussel industry in Tennessee is the export of the mussel shells more so than the discovery of pearls. In fact, with the low numbers of mussels being harvested today, the chance of discovering large natural pearls is very difficult.
I am definitely excited to see the new show on the Discovery Channel and see how they portray the life of the U.S. pearl diver!