Freshwater pearls

How to Choose Freshwater Pearls

Why Choose Freshwater Pearls?

Freshwater pearls are the most popular type of pearls on the market because they can be integrated into a wide variety of jewelry pieces. They are extremely versatile and they can be included in both casual and formal outfits. This makes them valuable power pieces in every woman’s jewelry box.

Another important benefit is the fact that prices for freshwater pearls are extremely accessible. Depending on the shape, the size and the integrity of the specimen, the price can range from a couple of American dollars to as much as a few hundred.

Let us tell you more about these pearls, all the amazing jewelry pieces that can be created with them and how you can choose the perfect ones. Whether you are interested in delicate necklaces, statement bracelets or engagement rings, freshwater pearls should definitely be on your list.

pearl wreath broochHalf moon shaped wreath brooch

Freshwater pearls are unique in that they are the ONLY tissue-nucleated cultured pearl in the world. Why is this an awesome, wonderful thing? A few reasons (to start!):

  1. It creates a pearl composed of solid crystalline nacre, the closest you can get to the way a natural pearl is formed in the wild.
  2. It creates an incredibly durable pearl that will withstand the tests of time, wear and tiny hands.
  3. Rather than a glossy shine, a Freshwater pearl possesses an elegant glow that slowly reveals itself under the steady gaze of the wearer: Silky, touchable and radiant, fine AAA Quality Freshwater pearls can look just as beautiful as any saltwater pearl.
  4. Their natural shades of Pink/Peach, Lavender and White are untreated by any chemical or due process, and will never discolor or fade if cared for properly. New, intense colors and metallic overtones are becoming available, making cultured Freshwater pearls one of the most colorful pearl types on the market today!

freshwater pearl

Cultured freshwater pearls are created by using freshwater mussels. China is currently the leading producer worldwide, with export rates of thousands of tons each year. One of the most interesting aspects about them is that they come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Round freshwater pearls are extremely rare, though. It seems that less than 2% of them have a round shape while the vast majority are oval or baroque. This is one of their defining characteristics that provides them with a unique charm. They are easily recognizable and they always manage to portray the wearer as adventurous.

freshwater pearlfreshwater pearl

As for their color pallet, freshwater pearls range from flawless white to gorgeous pink and champagne, and all the way to a generous assortment of metallic colors. Please note that there are no natural black freshwater pearls available.

Light-colored specimens are perfectly suitable for artificial coloring and this enables production companies to manufacture freshwater pearls of absolutely any color imaginable.

freshwater pearl

Pearl sacs form around each square of donor mantle tissue, and the muscle begins to secrete nacre, covering the irritant with concentric layers of semi-transparent aragonite crystalline platelets and conchiolin, which is the organic “glue” binding the layers together. Inside the newly forming pearl, the square of mantle tissue at the center begins to deteriorate, leaving a pearl that is composed of solid crystalline material.

freshwater pearl


Freshwater pearls are common worldwide because they are massively exported by the Chinese. This has managed to lower their price considerably and as such, they are extremely accessible. The final price depends on the pearl’s grade, which is given according to its shape, size, and integrity.

As opposed to gems and precious stones, a universally accepted grading scale for pearls does not exist. At the moment, there are two main scales that are jewelers use as guidelines to determine the true value of pearls: the AAA-A grading system and the A-D grading system.

Shape is Key

Solid-nacre pearls have no mother of pearl bead nucleus to give the mussel a perfectly round ‘template’ to form nacre over, so the majority of Freshwater pearl harvests contain semi-baroque and baroque pearls (see the image above for an example of the variety of shapes, sizes and colors a single mussel can produce!).

freshwater pearl

True round-shaped Freshwater pearls, while a major goal of pearl farmers everywhere remain a tiny percentage of each yearly harvest – less than 3% – and are a MAJOR factor in determining a pearl’s overall quality grade.


Freshadama-grade pearls are loose-grade pearls, or pearls that have been selected individually prior to drilling and polishing for their exceptional quality characteristics. These pearls are typically sold wholesale as single pearls and pairs, undrilled. Freshadama™ strands are composed of these pearls; drilled and matched by us.

  • Highest grade of freshwater pearl
  • Exhibit intense luster and deeply reflective orient
  • Round
  • Clean surface
  • Top .01% of freshwater pearls produced today
  • Excellent matching

edison pearls


  • Highest non-loose pearl grade available in the market
  • Exhibit excellent luster
  • Round to the eye
  • Clean surface
  • Top 1% of freshwater pearls produced today
  • Excellent matching


  • Highest grade of freshwater pearl
  • Near round, appear perfect round from a yard away
  • Luster is good to strong
  • 95-100% Clean Surface
  • Top 5% of freshwater pearls produced today
  • Excellent to good matching

feather brooch


  • Exhibit good to average luster
  • Near round to off-round
  • 80-100% Clean Surface
  • Pearl exhibits good to medium reflection
  • Top 10% of freshwater pearls produced today
  • Good to moderate matching

freshwater pearl


  • Exhibit average to low luster
  • Near round to off-round
  • 70-80% Clean Surface
  • Top 20% of freshwater pearls produced today
  • Good to moderate matching


  • Exhibit average to no luster
  • Near round to off-round
  • Moderate to heavy blemishing
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