What are Freshwater Pearls?

Pearl studs, pearl rings, or even pearl necklaces with press-studs have been worn for generations. Nowadays, buyers usually look for pearl jewellery mainly because of their uniqueness and stunning lustre that compliments an outfit or a style of dress. There are only two basic types of pearl exist in this world. One is the freshwater variety and another one is the saltwater variety. Each of these categories can again be divided into two forms. This depends on their formation – natural or cultured. A natural pearl is a pearl that has formed from inside the body of a mollusc without any human intervention. Cultured pearls grow with the help of human aid.

Cultured Pearl Oyster

Where do freshwater pearls come from?

Generally, these pearls grow naturally or are cultivated in mollusc or mussels and oysters. They come from the freshwater of rivers, ponds, and lakes. Most of the world’s supply of freshwater pearls comes from the Chang Jiang river of China. These pearls are also cultivated in a much easier manner as one freshwater mussel can produce several pearls at a time in comparison to saltwater oysters. Freshwater molluscs are often cultivated in one farm where pearls are formed faster. After that, they are transferred to another farm to produce compressed nacre. This means that they then will gain a better lustre and colour. Generally, freshwater pearls are available in a wide range of colours like white, grey, peach, black, pink, or even purple or lavender.

Colour ranges

Cultured Freshwater pearls can be produced in a huge spectrum of colours mainly through natural means. This depends on the genetics of the pearl mollusc, the presence of type and amount of trace metals in the growing environment, and also the food they eat. Usually, the Freshwater pearls are irradiated in order to create unusual or any specific colour. A pearls worth is influenced by their colour texture mainly to suit the wearer’s preferences.

Cultured Pearl Colour Chart

Source: Swarovski


  • Freshwater pearls usually possess a softer lustre due to the greater thickness of a pearl mussel’s nacre.
  • They have greater durability and thus are less likely to wear down.
  • They are available in a huge array of colours including more dramatic shades.
  • Freshwater pearls also are available in a variety of shapes, ranging from the size of a tiny rice grain to a bigger gemstone size.
  • They are an all-time favourite for the cost-conscious consumer mainly for the fact that they are reasonably priced.

Their True value

Exactly how much these pearls are worth depends on several factors.

  • Usually some varieties of freshwater pearls are very inexpensive as you buy directly from the pearl farms. Such lower quality pearls are often sold with costume jewellery. Probably because these pearls are available to the market in abundance.
  • On the contrary, there are a few varieties of freshwater pearls, which are quite a bit expensive mainly for their shape. These pearls often resemble various shapes like logs, animals, crosses, human faces, body parts, vegetables, etc. Thus, these pearls are priced according to their beautifying features and how unusual they look.
  • Furthermore, there are many collectors out there that are always looking to build up their collection and will pay whatever it takes to get they pearl they want.

Ever sat and thought:
How Much Are Pearls Worth?

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Ever sat and thought:
How Much Are Pearls Worth?

For more information on Pearls and to get notified of our latest posts, subscribe to our mailing list.