types of cultured pearls

quick facts

Origin: 99.99% of all cultured Freshwater pearls are farmed in natural and man-made freshwater lakes and ponds in China.

Sizes: Freshwater pearls range in size from 2.0-3.0mm up through 11.0-12.0mm.

Colours: The Freshwater pearl mussel produces a variety of natural colours, most typically pastel shades of pink, peach, lavender and white.

Shapes: The most valuable Freshwater pearl shape is as close to a true round as possible, but symmetrical and free-form Baroque shapes are also widely available.

Good to know: Most cultured Freshwater pearls are “tissue-nucleated” meaning that a small, 1.0mm square piece of mantle is used as the nuclei to begin pearl cultivation inside the mussel. As the pearl grows, the foreign mantle degrades, leaving a pearl that is nearly 100% solid crystalline nacre. This means that Freshwater pearls are very durable.

pearl education

what are freshwater pearls?

Freshwater pearls are the most widely available and affordable type of cultured pearl. They grow in non-saline environment in freshwater mussels.

Although freshwater pearls are the most commonly produced pearls, their unique shapes and wide range of colours combined with their attractive prices and charming character, have made them a favourite among jewellery designers, shoppers and pearl connoisseurs alike.

Colours, Shapes and Sizes of Freshwater Pearls

Because they offer a wider diversity of colours, shapes, and sizes than any other type of pearl, freshwater pearls are often used in fanciful designer jewellery. In addition to the traditional white body colour, these pearls come in a rainbow of natural pastel colours such as lavender, pink, and every shade in between. Most freshwater pearl information notes their varied shapes, including potato-shaped and stick pearls, rice-shaped and button pearls, coin-shaped and drop pearls, off-round and round pearls.

While a perfectly round freshwater pearl is extremely rare, we deal with the roundest, highest quality freshwater pearls available. We searched the best pearl farms around the world—the same ones that supply high-end jewellery labels. Therefore, we are able to guarantee the best quality pearls have been picked by our experts in order to produce one of the finest ranges of freshwater pearl jewellery.

Where do freshwater pearls come from?

China has harvested freshwater pearls in the form of mabee since the 13th century, and has now become the world’s undisputed leader in freshwater pearl production. The first record mentioning pearls in China was from 2206 BC. The United States was also a major source of natural freshwater pearls, from the discovery of the New World, through the 19th century, until over-harvesting and increasing pollution significantly reduced the number of available pearl-forming mussels in the US.

Although most freshwater pearl information lists several areas of the world as home to pearl-producing mussels, the global freshwater market is overwhelmingly dominated by Chinese pearl farms, which account for nearly all freshwater pearls sold today.

How rare and valuable are they?

While freshwater pearls as a variety are the most common type of pearl, very round and lustrous freshwater pearls are very difficult to find. Top-of-the-line freshwater pearls command a high retail value. They are dazzling in their rich, bright lustre, and their unique charm will last you a lifetime.