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Bertha Necklace - White A 6-10mm Freshwater Pearl Necklace
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Pearl Education

Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater PearlsFreshwater 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

mussel common name
Triangle Shell
mussel scientific name
Hyriopsis Cumingi
overall size range
3-10 mm
average size range
6-7 mm
growth time
2-6 years

Topics

History and Cultivation

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.

One of the largest pearls known to exist today is a freshwater blister pearl.

Freshwater Pearls Today

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.

Freshwater Pearl Colors

White pearls are considered the classic pearl color. Freshwater pearls are cultured and do grow in white and other light pastel colors.

As more colors have become popular, freshwater pearls are available in pink and lavender as well. In addition, treated black and very dark freshwater pearls are now becoming more popular.

Value Factors

The value of freshwater pearls and finished pearl jewelry is varied.

These factors include luster, roundness and surface quality. How well the pearls are matched for a finished jewelry piece is also important.

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