What is a Freshwater Pearl?
A Freshwater pearl farm, Japan
Though seemingly similar, Freshwater pearls are a wholly different variety of pearl compared to saltwater (seawater) pearls derived from Oysters.
Grown by a different bivalve, a mussel, rather than an oyster, they're commonly found, easily bred, and can survive inland, in lakes and rivers, without much fuss. They also are able to produce multiple pearls at a time, in a process that takes months, rather than one peal at a time for an oyster, in a process that takes years. Futher more, they have the unique distinction of being able to produce natural color tones of pink and purple - something that that no other bivalve is able to do.
Hyropsis Cumingii- Hyriopsis Schleggii Mussel
With all of these advantages, freshwater pearls are produced in abundance, and available at amazing price points, some of which are simply not available with saltwater pearls, which tend to more costly.
Akoya Pearl Strand
However, as with all gemstones, the difference is in the details. Freshwater pearls tend to exhibit a more "matte" kind of luster and less roundness than their saltwater counterparts. Since the quality of luster and roundness are key value factors, their value typically does not compare to the saltwater counterparts.
Freshwater Pearl Strand
It is worth noting that on occasion, fine examples of Freshwater pearls such as the natural pink Kasuimga-ura pearl from lake Kasumiga-ura , Japan does display gemstone qualities, and command very high prices due to their rarity.
Kasumiga Pearl Strand