Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater Cultured Pearls, are farmed in freshwater and grown in mussels. The irritants and the mussels used in making freshwater pearls are smaller than saltwater pearls. Freshwater pearls cultivating technique usually produce twenty or more pearls in one mussel, and it only takes one and a half years to two years to harvest.
When you think of freshwater pearls, small size and lopsided shapes may come to mind. That was pretty much the case around 15-20 years ago. For many years, freshwater pearl farms only produced low quality rice pearls, while saltwater pearls were rounder and of better quality. The past ten years has seen many improvements in the cultivation and processing techniques of freshwater pearls. In the 1990s China surprised the market with freshwater pearls that were of much higher quality.

Freshwater pearls are all pear. Because there is no hard nucleus inserted in freshwater pearls, freshwater pearls are almost all nacre. Freshwater pearls have a special attraction since they come in a wide range of colours. Natural freshwater pearl colours range from white and cream to pink to include apricot, lilac and purple.

However buyers need to be aware that many retailers stock freshwater pearls that have been artificially dyed. These pearls have often been placed by the manufacturers in China in vats of dye for up to nine months in order to give the appearance of Tahitian black pearls. This diminishes the lustre and value of the pearl, however. Tiare Black Pearl has a policy of never selling artificially coloured pearls.

Freshwater pearls can be found in almost any shape that you can imagine: round, drop, rice, button, oval, semi-round, circle or ringed, baroque and semi-baroque. Because of its popularity, the round shape is usually the most expensive, but as always, personal preference dictates the shape each customer will find most beautiful. In fact, baroque shapes, like the variety of colors, offers beaders more scope, although farmers aim for smooth round cultured pearls.

South Sea pearls and Tahitian pearls take 2 to 3 years to form. Japanese Akoya pearls take a shorter period, less than 2 years. The cultivation period for Chinese freshwater pearls in the 1980s was 18 to 24 months. This short time resulted in small sizes and low quality.

Over the past 10 years Chinese pearl farms have changed their way of cultivating pearls and let their mussels stay in the water for much a longer time. Freshwater pearls take from at least 3 years to as long as 5 to 6 years before they are ready for harvest. The longer cultivation period leads to freshwater pearls that are much bigger in size and higher in quality.

At Tiare Black Pearl you will find large round and semi-baroque natural coloured freshwater pearls.
You can find the price list for loose Freshwater pearls under Loose Freshwater Pearls in this section. Click on the following link to view and purchase a selection of Loose Freshwater Pearls from our Online Store or go to our DIY (Design your Own) jewellery section to see how you can design and purchase your own individual pearl jewellery.