Freshwater Pearls are found or cultured in mussels or oysters in rivers, lakes or ponds and tend to be more irregular in shape and more varied in color than saltwater pearls.
Nearly 96% of freshwater pearls today are produced in China, With the development of culturing technique, Chinese freshwater pearls has played an much more important role in the jewelry industry than ever before.
Freshwater pearls' lower price than saltwater doesn't necessarily mean low quality. In fact, some high quality freshwater pearls are very valuable. Currently the typical sizes range from 4 mm to over 10 mm.
Those various shapes of pearls can be used to make impressive looking jewelry pieces that sell for moderate prices.
The grading of freshwater pearls is more variable than that of saltwater pearls because freshwater pearls are more colorful and of various shapes. But we can still generally assess their value according to the 7 factors:
Luster and Nacre
When cultivating freshwater pearls, it is not need to insert a shell bead. All that is needed is the insertion of a piece of mantle. After the first harvest, mussels can spontaneously grow pearls a second time. That means cultured freshwater pearls either do not have nucleus or have a very little one inside, hence, freshwater pearls are make up with very thick nacre.
Only those freshwater pearls with EVENLY high luster can be considered as high valued ones. Judge luster see Luster and Nacre.
Blemishes such as discolorations, pits, bump, wrinkle and cavities can decrease the value of pearls.
Freshwater pearls come in a wide variety of body colors: white, pink, orange, yellow, lavender and gray.
When determining what color to buy, keep these in mind:
The color doesn't affect the price of freshwater pearls as much as it does that of saltwater pearls.
Pink or silver overtone can increase the freshwater pearl value.
Iridescence increases the value too.
Natural color pearls are more valued than treated ones.
By inserting different shapes of nuclei, people can harvest some unique shapes freshwater pearls as they desiring. Thin shapes freshwater pearls tend to sell for less than fatter-looking ones. Symmetry and round are of higher value than baroque.
Size for freshwater is not as important of a price factor as is luster and surface quality. But it still sticks with the rule of the larger, the more valuable.
Treated Freshwater Pearl
People often treat freshwater pearls to get colorful pearls in various shapes. Treated freshwater pearls bring fashion industry more inspiration and possibility of creating shining pieces. The most often used treatments are bleaching, dyeing, or irradiation. Those big size cultured freshwater pearls mixed with small size ones create a changeful world of pearl jewelry.