Fresh Water Pearls are every bit a genuine pearl as their saltwater sisters, but are generally priced lower. Fresh Water Pearls, as their name indicates, are grown and raised in fresh water in mussels. This variety is solid nacre, making them more durable than the saltwater type. Fresh Water Pearls differ in that they have less shine and luster, but also have fewer tendencies to chip or wear, making them longer-lasting.
The fresh water variety is very similar to the salt water type by appearance alone. Fresh Water Pearls usually have less round shape, and are more likely to be rice-shaped or have nugget, button, or irregular keishi or blister shapes similar to an elongated teardrop. Colors range from silky white and cream to pale pink, peach, lavender, or even deeper shades. Cultured pearls are cultivated to force the host mollusk (usually mussel) to react as it would naturally, by building a pearly shell around an irritant inside the shell. Both Japan and China, two countries with long histories in the pearl industry, have taken pearls to extents not seen in most Western and European waters. Farmed or cultured pearls have this irritant artificially introduced to inside the shell, and from there the mollusk deposits around the foreign matter layers of calcium carbonate to isolate the “irritant” until a pearl is formed. In theory, fresh water and saltwater pearls are engineered in the same end process.
Colors of Fresh Water Pearls are determined by the mollusk, but pearls are good recipients to dying, producing lovely shades in every color of the rainbow. Because of this ability to take and hold color, pearls can be matched to many other gemstones or to each other and can be equally set with gold or silver. A strand of creamy white pearls is considered a classic, and has been for thousands of years.
Compound : Calcium Carbonate, plus the irritant matter