Freshwater vs. Saltwater Pearls

Freshwater vs. Saltwater Pearls

Let me give you a very concise match-up and you can decide.

The most asked question (about pearls) is, "What is the difference between Freshwater and Saltwater Pearls?" Let me give you a short but definitive answer.

Freshwater pearls are grown in rivers and lakes, while saltwater pearls grow in the ocean.

Freshwater pearls are grown in mussels and saltwater pearls are grown in oysters.

Each mussel can grown up to 50 Freshwater pearls, while an oyster can only grow 1-3 pearls.

Freshwater pearls are ready to harvest in about 6 months, while Saltwater pearls grown from 18 months to 3 years or more.

Until recently, all Freshwater pearls were grown with the insertion of a piece of mantle tissue into the organ of the mussel, which caused the organ to produce nacre surrounding the mantel tissue. So, Freshwater pearls were entirely nacre. Recently, improved technology has been used to nucleate the mussel with a bead to create larger and rounder pearls. Oysters have always been cultured with a bead nucleus. They are not all nacre, but the longer growing time and water temperatures create a more desirable surface.

Freshwater pearls are more affordable, while Saltwater pearls are of higher quality and more valuable.

Both Freshwater and Saltwater pearls are 98% cultured today. 

What to buy?? The first consideration would be your budget. If you are new to pearls, You might want to start with a reasonably priced pearl design. But, of course, the quality of the pearls may be your desire. There are many pearls on the market and it is impossible to not find the exact, wonderful, blissful, pearls of your dreams. But let this only be a beginning.


Judi McCormick

Thanks Judy for sharing your visit to the gem show. So many gorgeous gems. And thank you also for the information about freshwater and saltwater pearls!
Warm regards,
Ellen Questel

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