Already three thousand years ago, the Chinese were aware of the oysters’ ability to create motherof-
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
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.