Freshwater pearls, as the name suggests, are pearls that form in a freshwater environment. Freshwater makes up about 3% of the world's water and is basically brackish water - think lakes, rivers, glaciers, etc. Pearls that form in these environments are called freshwater pearls.
Freshwater pearls are the most common type of pearls and are beloved by jewelry designers and collectors. Their unique color and shape make them a dazzling addition to any jewelry box.
History of Pearls
It is no secret that pearl jewelry is passed down from generation to generation. Pearls were used as gifts and jewelry by ancient Chinese imperial Romans, and were even found in the sarcophagi of Persian princesses. Pearls became more common after the discovery of how they were made in 1893. Since then, saltwater and freshwater pearls have been widely used in jewelry and fashion for everyone to enjoy.
Pearls are known to be the shining birthstone for those born in June, and their meanings include purity, humility and innocence. Classic gemstones stand out on their own, but also complement other gemstones and colors. This versatile gemstone comes in a variety of colors, and even what appears to be white can sparkle with a rainbow effect under certain lights.
Where Do Freshwater Pearls Come From?
Freshwater pearls come from mollusks (such as oysters, mussels, or clams) in freshwater environments. Pearls form when irritants enter specific species of these mollusks. The mollusk then secretes a fluid around the irritant, which may be a grain of sand. Over the years, this liquid coating will deposit on the irritant, eventually forming a pearl.
These gemstones can be formed naturally in an aquatic environment or intentionally manufactured in a more controlled environment. Natural pearls are rarer and often more valuable than cultured pearls.
Are Freshwater Pearls Real?
Yes, freshwater pearls are real. They grow in freshwater bodies such as ponds and lakes. Apart from that, most pearls on the market are cultured pearls. If you do find natural pearls, they will be very expensive due to their rarity.
Fake pearls may feel smoother, while real pearls have a textured surface. The final test is grinding teeth with pearls. If it feels rough, it's true. Fake pearls also have a plastic feel, of course depending on the material used.
You can check article How to Tell if Pearls are Real
How Much are Freshwater Pearls Worth?
After all, you need to know what to pay and whether it's worth the investment. Pearls are usually sold in strings, with values ranging from $30 to $2,000. The exact value of cultured pearls depends on the grade of pearls used. The more perfect the shape, the brighter the gloss, the more valuable it is.
The price of pearls depends on several quality factors. The values provided in this article apply to round cultured pearls. Baroque pearls cost about 25-35% of round pearls. Natural pearls are extremely rare and are mainly traded in the collectible and auction markets. These pearls may be 10 to 20 times more valuable than equivalent Akoya cultured pearls.
What are Freshwater Cultured Pearls?
Freshwater cultured pearls are still true pearls, but they are formed with the help of humans. In select pearls, irritants are intentionally placed in mollusks. In pearl farming, multiple stimulants are put into the mollusk at one time, so many pearls can be harvested at the same time. It is very common to harvest more than 24 pearls from a single mollusk! The rarer the precious stone, the higher its price. Natural freshwater pearls are rarer and therefore more expensive, which means that not everyone experiences the beauty and joy of decorative pearls.
Why Choose Freshwater Pearls?
Freshwater pearls are unique in that they are the only tissue cultured pearls in the world. Why is this an amazing, wonderful thing? Here are just a few reasons in our minds:
- It creates a pearl composed of a solid crystalline nacre; the closest thing to how a natural pearl forms in the wild. Because of this, we also see the widest range of pearl shapes among freshwater pearls.
- It creates an extremely durable pearl that will stand the test of time, wear and small hands.
- Freshwater pearls are not a shimmering sheen, but an elegant radiance that slowly reveals itself under the watchful eye of the wearer... Silky, tactile and radiant, premium AAA and AAAA quality freshwater pearls look as beautiful as any seawater pearl.
Their natural shades of pink/peach, lavender and white have not been treated with any chemical or dyeing process and will never discolor or fade if properly cared for. New, intense colors and metallic shades are emerging, making cultured freshwater pearls one of the most colorful types of pearls on the market today!
Also, there are different types of pearls on the market, but freshwater pearls are the most popular. Wondering what makes them so special? Here are some lesser-known facts about freshwater pearls that you may not know.
1. Freshwater pearls come in many shapes
When you think of pearls, round, symmetrical shaped stones come to mind. But you would be surprised to learn that
Freshwater pearls come in many shapesand are not as round as seawater pearls. This sets them apart. Some common freshwater pearl shapes include round, near-round, baroque, button, coin, and teardrop. However, the most desired is the round shape. They are also more durable and more affordable than other pearl types.
2. They take six months to form
Did you know that one pearl type does not form at the same time as another? The average age of freshwater pearls is six months. However, sometimes pearls can take up to two years to grow. The process begins when freshwater mussels insert 24-30 pieces of mantle tissue at a freshwater pearl farm. After that, the sacs begin to develop and the cells begin to secrete nacres, which form calcium carbonate compounds called pearls.
3.They come in natural pastel colors
Another interesting fact about freshwater pearls is that not only do they come in different shapes, but they also come in a variety of colors. In addition to the traditional white, you can buy jewelry with freshwater pearls in cream, lavender, pink, and other pastel shades. This is one of the reasons why they are so popular and in high demand. That being said, freshwater pearls lack the deep, beautiful luster that other varieties have. But that doesn't stop jewelry designers and pearl lovers from buying this timeless and colorful gem.
4.China is the largest producer of freshwater pearls
Freshwater pearl farming began in Lake Biwa, Japan. However, due to the lack of necessary resources, the pearls were of poor quality and could not meet the demand. These pearls are approximately 35mm in size and are in Baroque style. In 1962, China began cultivating freshwater pearls using the same techniques used in Japan. The pearls were also of odd shape and of poor quality, but mass-produced to meet the growing demand. Today,
China is the largest producer of freshwater pearls, and the quality is improving year by year. The variety of colors and shapes suggests better quality in the future.
5.The most expensive pearl is worth $100 million
Did you know that the most expensive pearls were found in 2016? It remained under the owner's bed for nearly a decade until the house was destroyed by fire. It belonged to a fisherman who found it off the coast of the Philippines and kept it as a lucky charm. Wondering why it's so expensive? It weighs 75 pounds and is about 26 inches long! This is the largest pearl ever discovered and is worth up to $100 million.
Fascinated by freshwater pearl? Here we have 5 freshwater pearl jewelry sets for you to choose!
1.Real Pearl Necklace and Earring Set
A sparkling freshwater pearl elegantly hangs below tiny sparkling diamonds. This pearl necklace and earring set is made of real freshwater pearl and 925 sterling silver, these vintage elements highlight the unique charm of pearls. Simple yet sophisticated, this classic pearl necklace and earring set is perfect for both formal and casual looks.
2.Vintage Pearl Bridal Jewellery Set
A lustrous freshwater pearl looks beautiful in a halo of sparkling diamonds. Additional zircons adorn the shank and galleries for extra sparkle. Milgrain detailing at the edges lends vintage appeal to this 18k gold-plated pearl jewelry set. This pearl set is the best option for those who love vintage pearl jewelry.
Pink Pearl Necklace And Earring Set
Absolutely gorgeous, this
Pink Pearl Necklace And Earring Set represents the finest in freshwater pearls. Umbrella gold plating and sparkling 5A zircon above the pearls add to the vintage feel of this baroque necklace and earrings, and high gloss AAA quality pearls complement the beauty of this gorgeous pearl necklace.
Original Pearl Necklace Set
This pearl necklace set consists of a freshwater pearl necklace and a pair of earrings, all featuring beautiful and lustrous pearls of AA+ quality. Above each pearl is a shimmering moissanite, adding to the dignity and elegance of this pearl jewelry.
Gorgeous pearl pendant jewelry set for women that exudes elegance and beauty. Pearl droplets on the earrings and matching pendant hang beneath the gilded spiral.This retro chic pearl set is perfect for weddings, glamorous social events or romantic encounters.