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Freshwater pearls are not the most inexpensive pearl variety on the market today, but they provide great value to those interested in learning more about pearls. Freshwater pearls, also known as the “fashion-forward” pearl, come in a variety of colors, forms, and prices and are used in trendy patterns and jewelry types.
You may be curious how this pearl style varies from others and whether it is the right choice for you. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about buying a freshwater pearl.


What Is a Freshwater Pearl?

Freshwater mussels in streams, rivers, and wetlands are used to make freshwater pearls. The majority of freshwater pearls on the marketplace currently come from China, Thailand, and Vietnam rivers and streams, with the United States and Japan accounting for a limited portion of the market.

At JO&LYD we import our own pearls from South Korea.

At any given time, a freshwater mussel will have up to 30 pearls (compared to the one (1) to two (2) pearls that saltwater oysters can contain). This is what makes the saltwater pearl more expensive.

Freshwater pearls have all been cultured, which means they were produced in pearl farms using science and technology rather than occurring naturally. An irritant is implanted in the mussel by a qualified technician in order to facilitate the development of a pearl. Although a bead nucleus is widely used in the farming of Akoya and other saltwater pearls, the process for freshwater pearls is somewhat different. To induce nacre secretion, donor mussel tissue is implanted in the host mussel.
As a result of this process, freshwater pearls are entirely made of nacre and do not have a bead nucleus. The thicker the nacre, the more robust and exquisite the pearl.

Freshwater Pearl Colors and Overtones

Freshwater pearls, come in a wide variety of colors. White, cream, green, as well as pastel shades like purple, lavender, violet, and orange, are the most popular body colors for these pearls. High-quality freshwater pearls have pink, orange, and blue overtones, whereas lower-quality gems lack any attractive overtones.
White, cream, and lavender, are the most common colors for freshwater pearls. Black freshwater pearls, on the other hand, are not natural because they have been colored to achieve their color. All other black pearls mostly on market are being dyed, except Tahitian pearls, which are naturally charcoal to black in color.

Freshwater Pearl Shapes

Even though pearls are recognizably spherical in shape, almost 5% of all pearls are completely circular. Near oval, bell, semi-baroque, and baroque are among the other shapes available. Only circular pearls were once thought to be deserving of being set in jewelry, but today, a growing number of people recognize the value of irregularly formed pearls.
The majority of freshwater pearls are oval or nearly circular, with around 30% being baroque or semi-baroque. Due to the nucleation mechanism used by freshwater pearl growers, round freshwater pearls can be very uncommon. These pearls are not beaded cytoplasmic, as formerly said, implying that irregular shapes are more possible to occur.
Freshwater Pearl Sizes

Freshwater pearls have the widest range of sizes of any pearl type, with typical sizes varying from 2.0 mm to 15.0 mm. On the other side, sizes greater than 10.0 mm are very thin. Freshwater pearls’ growth periods differ from farm to farm, which is why they come in such a wide variety of sizes.

Freshwater Pearl Luster

When purchasing a pearl, the luster is the most critical aspect to remember. The luster of a pearl is what makes it glitter and shine, catching your attention. The luster of a pearl determines its price; the higher the luster, the more costly the pearl.
Saltwater pearls, such as Akoya and South Sea pearls, have a higher luster than freshwater pearls. This is a common concept, although there are always variations, and it depends on the specific pearls.

Freshwater Pearls Value

Freshwater pearls are by far the most cost-effective pearl type available. They’re probably the most plentiful. Despite their similar look, freshwater pearls can be up to 80% less costly than Akoya pearls. Compare and contrast the following two 18-inch pearl necklaces. Although they seem to be quite close, the price gap is nearly $500!

Freshwater Pearl Jewelry

Freshwater pearls can be used in a variety of jewelry designs. Pearl necklaces, bracelet strands, pearl stud earrings, and pearl pendants are among them.
Freshwater pearl studs are a beautiful addition to every jewelry box. They’re inexpensive and suitable for practically any budget. Pearl studs look perfect with every ensemble and give a touch of class.
There are several alternatives on the market if you’d like an exclusive alternative to the conventional pearl strand.

Grading Freshwater Pearls

Although there is no internationally agreed grading scheme for freshwater pearls, two grading schemes are widely used. This will make comparing pearls from different suppliers and selecting the right one for you very challenging. And though they use the A-AAA or A-D grading scale often used for pearls, most vendors have their own standards. The surface texture, form, and luster of freshwater pearls are all considered when rating them.

The AAA to A Scale
AAA Pearl, This is the best performing pearl, almost perfect. Perfectly circular, nearly free of surface blemishes and flaws, and highly reflective luster are just a few of the characteristics. There are no blemishes on up to 95% of the body.
AA Pearl With about 90% of the surface free of blemishes or flaws, it has a high luster. The form is almost oval and of good quality.
A Low luster, with 70% of the surface clear of blemishes and flaws. The shape isn’t quite right.

To this scale, some retailers apply a fourth grade, AAAA, or AAA+. This is often done by manufacturers applying a price on a high-quality pearl, making it seem that the pearl is much higher than the best level. After all, an AAAA pearl must be superior to a AAA, so the higher price is justified, right? That’s incorrect. Much of the time, a retailer’s AAAA or AAA+ pearl is identical to a normal AAA pearl.

The Tahitian A-D System

Pearls are ranked into four categories using this form, with A being the largest. When this method was designed to rate Tahitian pearls in French Polynesia, it is now being used to grade other pearl varieties as well.

Freshwater Pearls Care

Cleaning your pearls at home is easy, as long as you use tepid water and a mild detergent. Be sure the water you’re using isn’t too hot or too cold, as this will hurt your pearls’ surface. Wipe away any grime with a fluffy towel, then gently clean the pearls to remove any residue.
Do not soak or submerge your pearls in water. Soaking will affect the nacre as well as the strand’s thread, reducing the strand’s longevity.

Note: Avoid using harsh chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners on your jewelry pearls because they will damage them.
Stop keeping your pearls in intense sunshine or hot conditions, as this will dry them out, making them fragile and losing their color. Keeping the pearls hydrated is as simple as putting a wet cotton ball in a silk pouch for them.
Since pearls are so delicate, they must be kept separately to prevent being scratched by other jewelry.