Most Freshwater pearls come from China, and are the product of an elaborate process in which a single resilient mussel can be harvested many times, yielding several pearls at a time. The Freshwater pearl looks remarkably similar to the Akoya pearl, but Freshwater pearls are available for almost 1/4 the price of Akoya pearls. The only tradeoff is that Freshwater pearls are generally smaller, less symmetrical, and not as well matched when strung on a strand. But if you're looking for pearls at an outstanding value, Freshwater pearls are the perfect gift.
Coloured Freshwater Cultured Pearls
Freshwater cultured pearls can be created in a spectrum of colors. Many popular colors - white, pink, orange, and other pastels - can be achieved through natural means, including the pearl mollusk's genetics, what they eat, and the amount and type of trace metals in the cultivating environment.
It is a widely-accepted practice to treat or irradiate Freshwater pearls in order to achieve a particular or unusual color, and equally common to treat Freshwater pearls to create a more evenly-colored strand. Pearl colors should always be chosen to complement the wearer's complexion and wardrobe preferences.
From a value standpoint, when selecting colored pearls it is important to understand if the color is natural or the result of some post-harvesting treatment. For example, Tahitian pearls, cultivated in black lipped oysters, are the only naturally occurring charcoal to black pearls. It should be made clear to you that other pearls exhibiting these colors have been treated, and that fact reflected in a lower cost.
There are two seperate grading systems, one for South Sea cultured pearls, and one for Freshwater pearls.
The general color of a pearl is also called the body color. Typical freshwater pearl colors are white, cream, yellow, pink, silver, or black. A pearl can also have a hint of secondary color, or overtone, which is seen when light reflects off the pearl surface. For example, a pearl strand may appear white, but when examined more closely, a pink overtone may become apparent.
Pearls produce an intense, deep shine called luster. This effect is created when light reflects off the many layers of tiny calcium carbonate crystals that compose the pearl. This substance is called nacre. When selecting a pearl, consider that the larger the pearl, the more nacre it has, so it will also exhibit even more luster. Compare a 5mm Freshwater cultured pearl with a 10mm South Sea cultured pearl and the difference in the amount of nacre is obvious. The difference in luster is as clearly visible as the difference in the pearl sizes.
At La Mode Fine Jewellers, we offer a wide range of pearl types. Shapes that are not spherical or even symmetrical are considered lower quality however they can still produce exquisite jewellery. Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea pearls found in jewellery have a tendency to be the roundest, while Freshwater pearls can be oval or slightly off-round.
As a mollusk creates a pearl, the layers of nacre do not always adhere smoothly. Sometimes spots and bubbles can appear in the layering process. Pearls with the smoothest surfaces are the highest-quality, most sought-after pearls. At Lamode, to offer you a range of prices, we offer pearls with a range of surface qualities.
The size of the pearl greatly depends on the type of pearl. Freshwater pearls range in size from about 4.0-10.0mm, Akoya pearls range from about 1.0-9.0mm, and South Sea and Tahitian pearls can reach sizes as large as 20mm.
When cared for properly, pearls can last a lifetime, or two. The best way to care for pearls is to wear them often as the body’s natural oils keep pearls lustrous. However, it's important to keep them away from household chemicals including perfume, makeup and hairspray. Chemicals found in these common products can dull the luster of your pearls. It is recommended that you put your pearls on last when getting ready and make them the first thing you take off when you come home. Before putting your pearls away, wipe them with a soft cloth and store them separate from other jewelry to avoid scratching their tender surfaces.
Our beautiful freshwater cultured pearls are available as stud earrings, fashion earrings, strands, necklaces, pendants, brooches, rings, and bracelets.