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Freshwater pearls remain the jewelry accessory of choice, from the runways of Paris and Milan to the everyday streets and sidewalks of America. Pearls are timeless in their appeal, providing the perfect accent to any type of wardrobe and looking as at home around the neck of a grandmother as a sweet sixteen year old.
Whether you need the perfect gift of unique freshwater pearl jewelry, or are seeking a supplier of perfect pearls to create your own handcrafted accessories, we have everything you need.
Freshwater pearls come from freshwater mussels, unlike saltwater or Akoya pearls which form in oysters in a saltwater environment. For both types of pearls the process is the same – a small irritant in the flesh of the creature prompts secretions that eventually result in a spherical, glistening pearl.
While pearls created naturally in a saltwater source often have a “seed” at their center consisting of the original irritant, freshwater pearls (particularly those from mussels cared for in offshore “farms”) have either no seeds or ones which are so tiny as to be virtually undetectable.
A variety of factors affect determine the shape and quality of both freshwater and saltwater pearls. These include the conditions in which the oyster or mussel is raised, the health of the host, water temperature and quality, etc.
Get any size, any color and any shaped Freshwater Pearls at any time
Since our company owns freshwater pearl farms in China, we can produce high quality pearls and sell them at the lowest wholesale prices. Pearl jewelers and store owners can buy directly from us, meaning there is no middleman or distributor to increase the prices.
If you are a hobbyist, you can make good use of all the different freshwater pearls we sell to create unique pieces of art! We sell both loose freshwater pearls and freshwater pearl strands so you can mix and match to your heart`s delight.
Since natural freshwater pearls are scarce and hard to find, the Japanese originated the first cultured freshwater pearls in Japan. To culture pearls, skilled workers open mussel shells just a slight crack, and insert smell pieces of live mantle tissue from another mussel into tiny slits made in the mantle.
This is usually enough to start nacre production, meaning cultured freshwater pearls generally have no sand or other material as a ‘seed’ but are composed completely of nacre.
The Japanese began experimentation in the 1950s with freshwater mussels in a large lake near Kyoto. This resulted in all-nacre Biwa pearls forming in colors previously unseen in saltwater pearls. These natural luminescent pearls with naturally occurring coloring became instantly in high demand.
Although the Japanese dominated the cultured-pearl industry from 1950 to 1990, industrial pollution and over-development led to a steep decline in the quality of Japanese cultured pearls. The market shifted to China, where conditions were right for “pearl farming”, since China has countless lakes, rivers, and irrigation ditches to use for pearl cultivation, and an eager work force that is ready to work the farms.
Currently the best and largest freshwater pearl producers are located in China. Modern technology and cutting edge techniques had been developed in Japan to process, clean, bleach, polish and drill freshwater pearls.
Chinese pearl cultivators studied Japanese pearl processing techniques and invested in the technology and research to become the best in the pearl market, creating natural pearls with great luster and perfect shape. Although cutting edge methods are used in most phases of work, most pearl stringing is still done by hand by skilled workers.
The least expensive cultured freshwater pearls now available from pearl farms in China easily rival the pearl quality of the most expensive natural pearls in existence Chinese pearls are nearly indistinguishable from original Biwa quality, with size, color and luster often surpassing even the most expensive Japanese pearls.
Fred Ward, gemologist and author commented, “As testimony to China’s achievement, their freshwater pearls are round enough and good enough to pass as Japanese Akoya. China sells round white pearls to 7mm for about a tenth the price of Japanese cultured saltwater pearls.”
“Aiming for an even higher percentage of rounds, the Chinese are even reshaping reject freshwater pearls into spheres, then nucleating mussels with them. That process and technique has radically altered freshwater culturing, making saltwater and freshwater techniques indistinguishable.”
“After one experimenter used small off-round naturals as nuclei, he sent the resulting freshwater pearls to a gem lab and received a report identifying them as “naturals.”
(Special thanks to Fred Ward, who is a gemologist and author of the book “Pearls” (Gem Book Publishers, Bethesda, Maryland, 1998). from which this article was excerpted in quotation and adapted.)
Freshwater Pearls for Every Age
Freshwater pearls have a mystique. Often referred to as “tears of the sea”, freshwater pearls are appropriate for the dame and the dowager, the dainty miss and the delicate flower alike.
Freshwater pearl strands are now so affordable that even very young girls can be gifted with an exquisite strand of high quality pearls strung in a necklace which can be added to and restrung as the girl grows into a woman. Every dance, recital, birthday and graduation can be an occasion to add to the necklace, making it a treasure.
This beginning of an heirloom set can be slowly added to over the years, creating a collection of freshwater pearl jewelry that will last a lifetime. Several different sets of earrings, including studs, drops and chandeliers, plus an assortment of bracelets, bangles and brooches will ensure she has the perfect piece to wear on every occasion, casual or formal as it may be.
Use round pearls for traditional pieces, and angular or coin pearls for unique adornments that will catch the eye and add pizzazz to your wardrobe. Freshwater pearls can make the perfect gift for a sister, daughter, or niece as well as a grandmother, mother or mother in law, and with our cast variety of finished pearl jewelry, you will always have the perfect present for any special day!