Freshwater pearls are the first to be successfully cultured with records dating back over 700 years. Today cultured freshwater pearls are closest to natural pearls in growth. The lower cost and increasingly higher quality of freshwater pearls makes them a popular choice.
Freshwater Pearls at a Glance
Early Chinese history shows that freshwater blister pearls were successfully cultured about 700 hundred years ago. Prior to this, natural pearls were formed within freshwater mussels and found during harvest. The mussels were harvested mainly for food in those early days.
Today, freshwater pearls are a major product in the fine jewelry market. Their continued quality improvement allow some to almost rival their Akoya saltwater counterparts.
White pearls are considered the classic pearl color. Freshwater pearls are cultured and do grow in white and other light pastel colors.
The value of freshwater pearls and finished pearl jewelry is varied.