Freshwater Cultured Pearls
Already three thousand years ago, the Chinese were aware of the oysters’ ability to create mother-of-pearl. The first cultured freshwater pearls of our time were known as Biwa-pearls, as they were cultured in the lake Biwa in Japan. These pearls were characterized by being small in size and shapes like grains of rice. Today most of the world´s freshwater pearls are cultured in China. Culturing methods and processing may vary considerably; hence we see an important fluctuation in qualities. Apart from quality of the mother-of-pearl itself, culturing methods are important factors for the value difference between freshwater and saltwater cultured pearls. However, the resent years has seen a fast refinement of the culturing methods of the freshwater cultured pearls whereby a smaller amount of high quality freshwater pearls are now available.
The shapes tend to be more oval or “potato shaped”, but at times the shape can be round or perfect drop shaped.
The natural colours are whitish, rose, peach or with a hue of lavender. All other natural looking or fancy coloured freshwater pearls are colour enhanced or dyed.
Ordinary sizes ranges from 2mm to10mm. With the enhanced culturing methods we now see sizes up to and above 20mm. It is only a narrow selection of the larger sizes which are of high lustre and clean surface.