All That You Should Know About Freshwater Pearls

If you’re a pearl-lover, knowing every little thing you can about pearls makes them only more fascinating. The very basic thing that every person who shops for pearls know is that they are got from oysters, and oysters are usually found in the seas. So what are Freshwater pearls really?

Freshwater pearls are got from freshwater bodies like lakes, ponds and rivers. And these are different from the other pearls in that they are not got from oysters but instead are from mussels. When freshwater mussels give pearls, sometimes on their own and sometimes cultured, they are freshwater pearls.

Beads from pearls and cockleshells

How are freshwater pearls different from seawater pearls?

The basic difference is that the freshwater pearls are got from mussels of freshwaters and seawater pearls are got from oysters found in the sea. Apart from that, they vary in the size, the lustre, the overtones and the shape. Seawater pearls are rare and perfectly spherical with a very rich lustre. Freshwater pearls although quite shiny and pretty by themselves, are not really comparable to the seawater pearls. Which is probably why they are more affordable and more widely bought.

Freshwater pearls are preferred over seawater pearls for their shapelessness

Most freshwater pearls are not as perfectly circular as the seawater pearls. Sometimes, they are so disfigured that in China, they are often called as ‘rice pearls’ for their shape that mimics rice grains. And it is this shapelessness of the fresh water pearls that people often love them for.

Sometimes freshwater pearls take the shape of vegetables, animals, faces and some such things. There are some pearls that take the shape of a cross and such pearls are sold and bought off for huge prices. Mostly, the pearls are of an irregular oval shape and pearls of this shape are commonly used and are named as the Biwa or the Keshi pearls.

Freshwater cultured pearls:

Just like seawater pearls, freshwater pearls can be cultured. And it is these pearls that are preferred to be cultured when compared to seawater pearls as they are very easy to produce. Large quantities of freshwater pearls can be produced in a very small time unlike the seawater pearls which take a really long time to be made.

Just like seawater pearls, it was Japan that was the major producer of freshwater cultured pearls until recently. But the lakes eventually got too polluted to be used for this purpose and hence, the production of majority of the freshwater pearls of the world is now taken up by China. They are produced mostly in the lakes that surround Shanghai and the Yangtze river.

Oysters on ice with Pearl

Things you should remember while buying freshwater pearls:

  • Freshwater pearl jewellery is usually cheap, being priced around $ 20 per a pearl strand sometimes, although the price varies depending on where they were shipped from.
  • They are often dyed and bleached so they can look appealing. Make sure that the freshwater pearls that you buy are not dyed by confirming with your pearl-vendor as dyeing them makes them lose their value.

Pearl Necklace

Freshwater pearls may not be as unique as seawater pearls, but they’re extremely beautiful on their own. So if you’re pearl-shopping for an easily-affordable-yet-beautiful or asymmetrical, non-circular pearls, freshwater pearl jewellery is what you should go for.

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