reefs in the Moldau from Hohenfurth to Krumau were almost entirely
ruined in 1620 by the troops who were cantoned there when the Bohemian
Protestants were overthrown near the beginning of the Thirty Years'
War, and they never regained the reputation they formerly enjoyed.
According to the Vienna "Handels- und Börsenzeitung," the output of
the pearls fifty years ago in the upper Moldau, in the Wottawa, and in
the Chrudimka—a tributary of the Elbe— reached in some years the sum of
one million florins in value, and as much as eighty and sometimes even
one hundred and twenty florins were paid for an individual specimen.1 These pearls closely resemble those from Passau in Bavaria, and some approach the oriental gems in luster.
the archduchy of Austria, pearls occur in several of the tributaries
of the "beautiful blue Danube." They are especially important in
streams within the former district of Schärding, such as the
Lud-hammerbach, the Ranzenbergerbach, the Glatzbachenbach, the
Bram-bach, the Schwarzbergerbach, the Mosenbach, and the Hollenbach;
those in the former district of Waizkirchen, including the
Pirninger-bach, the Kesselbach, and many of their tributary brooks, and
the Michel, the Taglinsbach, the Fixelbach, and the Haarbach, in the
domain of Marbach.2 Fishing in the Pirningerbach and the
Kesselbach was prosperous about 1765, and Empress Maria Theresa
received a beautiful necklace and bracelets of the pearls therefrom. In
the district of Marbach, the fishing was prosecuted as long ago as 1685
for the account of the archbishop of Passau.
Hungary from time immemorial, the native pearls have been popular with
the Magyar women, and very many yet exist in the old Hungarian jewelry
worn with the national costume. A century ago there was scarcely a
family of local prominence which did not possess a necklace of pearls,
although these were frequently not of choice quality or of considerable
size. With a falling off in the output of the native streams there has
been a great increase in the quantity of choice oriental pearls
purchased by the wealthy families, and some of the most costly
necklaces in Europe are now owned here.
the kingdom of Denmark no pearl fisheries are now prosecuted, but three
centuries ago the gems were taken in the Kolding Fjord in the province
of Veile, Jutland. The great Holberg, who ranks first in Danish
literature, wrote that the governor of the castle at Kolding employed
as a pearl fisherman a Greenlander who had come to Denmark in 1605 or
1606, and who "had given the governor to understand that in his native
land he was accustomed to fish for pearls."
1 "Allg. Zeitung," Nov. I, 1858, No. 305. ' Von Hessling, "Die Perlenmuscheln,"
Leipzig, p. 178.