A bill reported out of committee in Louisiana will changed the state’s current gemstone, agate, to the “cabochon-cut” shell of the Crassostrea virginica, an oyster native to the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast.
The Committee on Senate and Governmental Affairs unanimously approved and sent to the Senate floor, House Bill 246 by Rep. Scott Simon, R-Abita Springs which will make it the state’s official gemstone. The idea is that the new designation will draw attention to the state’s seafood industry.
A Louisiana jeweler and gemologist Anne Dale discovered and promoted the notion of using the shell in jewelry.
The Crassostrea virginica is also called the Eastern Oyster, American Oyster, Atlantic Oyster, Common Oyster, and Virginia Oyster. It is especially abundant in and around Louisiana shores.
Whether the shell is really as beautiful as its promoters claim or whether this is a nifty PR stunt, I’ll leave to you. Personally, I think anything that can help or promote that beleaguered state’s seafood industry is a plus.
Here is a tape of Anne Dale discussing the oyster shell which includes pictures of it set in jewelry.
Anne Dale is a gemologist and jewelry designer in Mandeville, Louisiana, who has discovered the new gemstone material, LaPearlite.