What is Freshwater Pearl?

Freshwater pearls are a type of pearl that is created by freshwater mussels. They are most commonly found in the rivers, lakes, and streams of China, Lake Biwa, and Lake Kasumigaura in Japan. The majority of freshwater pearls sold in the market are cultivated in China. 

Is Freshwater Pearl a Genuine Pearl?

The short answer is yes. Freshwater pearls are just as genuine and authentic as regular pearls. The only difference is that they are produced more cost-effectively.

Freshwater pearls are either tissue nucleated instead of bead nucleated. Nacre is an organic substance that is secreted by the mollusk and is made up of calcium carbonate.

Are Freshwater Pearls Good Quality?

Chinese freshwater pearls were once considered low-quality in the 1970s and 1980s, but more than a decade ago the freshwater pearl industry of China shifted its production process by using triangle shell mussel (Hyriposis cumingii); this type of mussel produced fewer pearls but better quality. The quality of freshwater pearls has risen significantly, with the highest quality freshwater pearls being able to match the best Akoya and South Sea pearls in their luster and size.

However, less than 1% of the annual production can be considered gem quality. The majority of the lower-quality freshwater pearls are used in fashion jewelry.

Are Freshwater Pearls Worth Anything?

Low quality freshwater pearls can be purchased for as little as $20, whereas standard quality pearls can range from $50 to $100. The highest quality freshwater pearls can go from $1,000 to $5,000 and, in some cases, even higher.

What is the Difference Between Freshwater and Saltwater Pearls?

The main difference between freshwater and saltwater pearls is the type of environment in which they are grown and the way they are nucleated.

Freshwater pearls are grown in rivers, lakes, and other freshwater bodies. Saltwater pearls are grown in the ocean, generally in warm tropical waters.

Freshwater pearls are tissue nucleated. They are composed entirely of nacre, without the internal bead used to produce saltwater pearls.