HOW FRESHWATER PEARLS ARE DIFFERENT TO SEAWATER PEARLS
Posted on 20 February 2020
Everyone Deserves a Pearl
- Freshwater pearls come in the widest variety of shapes, sizes and colours of all the pearl types. You are sure to find one (usually a lot more than that!!) that you will fall in love with.
- Freshwater Pearls are affordable for everyone. My range starts from just $15 so everyone can afford some Pearls in their life 💕
- Freshwater pearls are naturally produced in an array of subtle pastel colors: A range of pinks & lavenders, as well as the traditional white colour.
- Freshwater Pearls not only come in a range of colours but also shapes and sizes !! There are so many to choose from.
- They are named after their shape: potato, stick, rice, button, coin, seed and drop pearls just to name a few.
- You will see most of the different types in my designs.
- Not the most appealing of names but they best describe the shape of the Pearls (I figure that were all named by men!..very practical)
- Freshwater Pearls can be as small as 1mm or can grow up to 50 mm .
- Freshwater Pearls are farmed by grafting a small piece of mantle tissue into an incision in the mantle of the host. The resulting pearl is composed of solid nacre.
- Up to 20 or 30 Pearls can be grown in the one mussel shell at any one time! That's a lot of pearls for every shell
- Generally, they are the least expensive of all pearls but some do fetch a very high price.
- Freshwater Pearls have a more muted lustre compared to Saltwater Pearls.
Where are they grown?
- Freshwater perliculture started all the way back in the thirteenth century China !!
- Freshwater pearls are produced in a freshwater Mollusck, Hyriopsis cumingi (triangle shell) and Hyriopsis schlegeli (Biwa shell) commercially in China, and other bivalve mussels that live in lakes, riverbeds and creek bottoms in Japan (Biwa pearls and Lake Kasumigaura pearls), as well the United States
- Today the majority of Freshwater Pearls are farmed in Mainland China
- They are found in slow-moving rivers, lakes and man-made bodies of water
- This is a typical scene of a Freshwater Pearl Farm in China .
Once the tissue has been inserted into the host mantle shell the shell is cared for between 2-7 years as it grows the beautiful gemstones we know as Pearls
- The tissue grafting operation is much easier to perform in the Freshwater Mussel shells as compared to the Saltwater shells.
- Shells that are ready for grafting are coaxed open just wide enough to enable the technician to operate on the mantle.
- Tiny incisions are made and a small piece of donor mantle tissue is inserted.
- Mantle tissue lines both sides of these shells so a single shell may receive up to 16 insertions on either side. WOW..that a total of 36 pearls in each shell!!
- Once the tissue has been inserted into the host mantle shell the shell is cared for between 2-7 years as it grows the beautiful gemstones we know as Pearls
- These shells are not that big ...growing up to 10-15cm
- The vast majority of freshwater pearl mussels survive the operation and are returned to the water for anywhere from one to seven years. The longer the shells remain in the water, the larger the pearls. The time of harvest is often determined by market pricing.
- Mollusks have no nervous system & thereby can feel no pain in case anyone was wondering about the host shell.