Pearls are one of the oldest and most cherished forms of jewelry, admired for their luster, shape, color and rarity. But did you know that not all pearls come from the sea? In fact, some of the most diverse and affordable pearls are produced in freshwater environments, such as lakes, rivers and ponds. These are called freshwater pearls, and they have a fascinating history, production process and variety of characteristics that make them stand out from other types of pearls.
What are freshwater pearls?
Freshwater pearls are pearls that are farmed and created using freshwater mussels. Unlike saltwater pearls, which are grown with a bead nucleus inside the oyster, freshwater pearls are mostly composed of nacre, the organic substance that gives pearls their shine and durability. Freshwater pearls can be nucleated with a small piece of mantle tissue from another mussel, or they can be grown without any nucleus at all, resulting in solid nacre pearls.
Freshwater pearls are produced in Japan and the United States on a limited scale, but are now almost exclusively produced in China. China is the world's largest producer of freshwater pearls, with an annual output of about 1500 tons. China uses several species of mussels, such as the triangle shell mussel (Hyriopsis cumingii) and several hybrids that have shown improved quality and yield.
How are freshwater pearls made?
The production of freshwater pearls begins by choosing a suitable donor mussel and cutting a strip of tissue from its mantle. This strip of tissue is then cut into small squares, which are delivered to a technician who performs the grafting operation. The technician makes small incisions on the upper valve of the host mussel, and inserts the tissue piece. A small twist of the tissue upon insertion is believed to create a higher ratio of round pearls.
After the maximum number of grafts have been performed, the mussel is flipped, and the procedure is repeated on the other valve of the shell. Chinese freshwater mussels can be grafted up to 25 times per valve, resulting in up to 50 pearls per mussel. The grafted mussels are then placed in cages or nets and submerged in freshwater ponds or lakes, where they are monitored and cared for until the pearls are ready to be harvested.
The harvesting process involves opening the mussel shell and removing the pearls. The pearls are then sorted, cleaned, drilled and processed according to their quality and market demand. The whole process from grafting to harvesting can take from six months to six years, depending on the size and type of pearl desired.
What are the characteristics of freshwater pearls?
Freshwater pearls are known for their wide range of colors, shapes and sizes. They can be white, pink, peach, lavender, purple, yellow, green, blue or black, or a combination of these colors. They can also have various overtones, such as rose, silver or cream. Some freshwater pearls have a metallic or oriental luster that reflects rainbow hues on their surface.
Freshwater pearls can be round, oval, drop, button, baroque or keshi. Round pearls are the most sought-after shape, but they are also the rarest and most expensive. Oval and drop pearls are more common and affordable, while button pearls are flattened on one or both sides. Baroque pearls are irregular and asymmetrical in shape, while keshi pearls are small and seed-like.
Freshwater pearls can range in size from 2 mm to 15 mm in diameter. The average size is about 7 mm. The size of the pearl depends on several factors, such as the species of mussel, the number of grafts per valve, the duration of cultivation and the environmental conditions.
How are freshwater pearls graded?
Freshwater pearls are graded according to a system of A values, based on luster, shape, surface, color and matching. The highest grade is Freshadama (or AAAA), which denotes flawless or near-flawless round or near-round pearls with excellent luster and matching. The next grade is AAA (or AA+), which denotes round or near-round pearls with high luster and minor surface blemishes. The third grade is AA (or A+), which denotes off-round or oval pearls with medium luster and moderate surface blemishes. The lowest grade is A (or B), which denotes baroque or keshi pearls with low luster and heavy surface blemishes.
The grading system is not standardized across different sellers or regions, so it is important to check the quality criteria before buying freshwater pearls. It is also advisable to look for certificates or guarantees that attest to the authenticity and quality of the pearls.
Why choose freshwater pearls?
Freshwater pearls offer many advantages for pearl lovers who want to enjoy these unique gems without breaking the bank. Some of these advantages are:
• Freshwater pearls are more affordable than saltwater pearls, because they are more abundant and easier to produce.
• Freshwater pearls are more durable than saltwater pearls, because they have thicker nacre layers and less risk of cracking or chipping.
• Freshwater pearls are more diverse than saltwater pearls, because they come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes that can suit any style or preference.
• Freshwater pearls are more ethical than saltwater pearls, because they have less impact on the environment and the mussels can survive the harvesting process and be reused for further cultivation.
Freshwater pearls are a great choice for anyone who wants to add some elegance, beauty and personality to their jewelry collection. Whether you prefer a classic strand of white round pearls, a colorful bracelet of baroque pearls, or a pair of dainty drop earrings, you can find the perfect freshwater pearl jewelry for you or your loved ones. Freshwater pearls are also a wonderful gift idea for any occasion, such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings or graduations.
Freshwater pearls are truly remarkable gems that reflect the natural beauty and diversity of life. They are a testament to the skill and innovation of the pearl farmers who create them, and the passion and appreciation of the pearl enthusiasts who wear them. If you are looking for a unique and affordable way to adorn yourself with pearls, freshwater pearls are the way to go.
In Kintao Jewelry Store ,we use freshwaterpearls to make freshwaterpearls earrings ,freshwaterpearlsnecklaces and freshwaterpearls bracelets.If you want to find affordable pearls jewelry ,we advice you to shop in our store .Our freshwaterpearls jewelry price can absolutely be attractive for you .Our aim is to let you wear different pears jewelry every day and change your pearls jewelry styles every day .