Freshwater pearls

About Freshwater Pearls

How do Freshwater Pearls compare to other types of pearls?

Best known for their shapes and wide variety of sizes and colors, the character of a freshwater pearl is found in its distinctive surface texture and the warmth of its luster. The nacre of a high-quality freshwater pearl does not typically have the glossy, metallic finish found in akoya pearls, and they are evaluated on separate quality scales. 

How rare and valuable are Freshwater Pearls?

While freshwater pearls as a variety are the most common type of pearl, perfectly round and lustrous freshwater pearls are very difficult to find. Top-of-the-line freshwater pearls, such as the ones you'd find at high-end jewellery stores, command a high retail value. They are dazzling in their rich, bright luster, and their unique charm will last you a lifetime.

Where do they come from?

Freshwater pearls are produced by Hyriopsis cumingi (triangle shell) and Hyriopsis schlegeli (Biwa shell) commercially in China, and other bivalve mussels that live in lakes, riverbeds and creek bottoms in Japan (Biwa pearls and Lake Kasumigaura pearls), as well the United States (Mississippi River Basin). Although most freshwater pearl information lists several areas of the world as home to pearl-producing mussels, the global freshwater market is overwhelmingly dominated by Chinese pearl farms, which account for nearly all freshwater pearls sold today.

At freshwater pearl farms, each mussel is surgically implanted with 24 to 32 tiny pieces of mantle tissue, a process known as nucleation. Over the course of 2 to 7 years, the mussels deposit layer upon layer of nacre around the growing gems, generally producing more than two dozen pearls clustered on the inside of each shell.

After harvest, millions of pearls are sorted carefully and matched for size, shape, color, and quality. Once the sorting is complete, loose pearls are available for sale individually and strands of matched pearls are sold on temporary strings known as "hanks."

Neo Parisian is a sustainable and fair-trade jewellery brand inspired by french aesthetics and nature; Find more about us and shop our pieces below or visit @neoparisian.

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