Freshwater Pearls

ORIGIN: Bodies of freshwater in China

MUSSEL: Hyriopsis cumingii, Hyriopsis schlegelii

SIZE RANGE: 4mm-13mm

NATURAL COLORS: White, Cream, Pink, Peach, Apricot, Lavender

KNOWN FOR: Value for the price. Diverse colors, shapes, and sizes. 

 

Freshwater pearl culturing dates back to 13th century China, with the production of blister pearls. By the 1930’s, Freshwater pearl production was thriving in Japan, but it wasn’t until the 1960’s that China’s production began to rival Japan’s. Today China is the undisputed lead producer of Freshwater pearls, with 90% or more of the world’s pearls being Freshwater pearls from China. Due to the nature of their culturing, up to 36-38 pearls can be harvested from one Freshwater mussel. Being the largest pearl crop in the world, they are also the most diverse of all the pearl types in size, shape, and color. 

 

Unlike other pearl types, Freshwater are not typically cultured with a bead nucleus but implanted with just pieces of mantle tissue, making it very rare to find perfectly round Freshwater pearls. This unique cultivation process allows for a wide variety of shapes which cannot be found in other pearl types. This also means that Freshwater pearls are the only pearls that are almost entirely composed of nacre, making them durable & resistant to wear and tear.

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