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Freshwater Cultured Pearls

Freshwater cultured pearls are formed with human intervention. According to the Federal Trade Commission guidelines, pearls that induced by human intervention must be labeled as cultured pearls.

Freshwater cultured pearls are produced in freshwater environment such as lakes, ponds or rivers. Freshwater mollusks are nucleated by creating a small incision in the fleshy mantle tissue and inserting a piece of mantle tissue from another oyster when they are around 2 to 2 ½ years old. These mollusks are then returned back to their freshwater environment where they are cared for another 2 to 6 years. This process may be completed up to 25 times on either side of the mantle, and producing up to 50 pearls at a time!

For proper growing, oysters and mollusks need clear, tranquil water at a temperature of about 20-30º C (or about 68-86º F).

The best season for pearl harvesting is during winter. As pearls tend to have deeper luster during this season. Before the pearls are sold, they would go through a process of sorting, cleaning, bleaching, and polishing to prepare them for the market.

Majority of the pearls sold on the market today are freshwater cultured pearls. More than 95% of freshwater cultured pearls selling in the world are from China. Even most pearls sold as Japanese pearls were actually imported from Chinese cultured pearl farms.

Freshwater cultured pearls are best known for their wide variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Perfectly round pearls are extremely rare, and therefore they are very expensive. However, each type of pearls has its own charms, characteristics and values.

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