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Home > BLOG > Do you know the difference between freshwater pearls and saltwater pearls?

Do you know the difference between freshwater pearls and saltwater pearls?

November 11,2023

In the world of jewelry, pearls attract countless people's attention with their unique charm and elegant temperament. Their roundness, crystal clear, and soft radiance embody the combination of exquisite quality and fashionable design, connecting every surprising and moving moment, making love always as pure and romantic as the first sight. However, do you know the difference between  freshwater pearls and seawater pearls? Do you know how to maintain these exquisite pearls? This article will delve into these issues and predict the future development of pearls.

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8mm drop shape AAA grade beautiful natural pearl set


Firstly, we need to be clear: seawater pearls and freshwater pearls are not the standard for distinguishing between natural and artificial pearls, they are only used to distinguish the source of pearls.

Both natural pearls and artificially cultivated pearls can be subdivided into seawater pearls and freshwater pearls.

Seawater pearls are formed in oysters in the ocean, mainly from Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, China, Japan, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific Islands. This type of pearl requires a longer growth cycle, but their glossiness is better, which means their quality is higher than freshwater pearls. However, the pearl quality of seawater pearls is relatively thin, and their durability is not as good as that of freshwater pearls. Moreover, due to the long cultivation cycle and high cost, the price is also relatively high.

In contrast, freshwater pearls are formed in various freshwater mussels that live in lakes, rivers, ponds, and other freshwater sources. Their main origins include China, Japan, Australia, India, and the United States. Freshwater pearls are relatively more affordable and have a shorter formation cycle, but their glossiness and roundness are not as good as seawater pearls, and there are also more surface defects.

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white snowflake shaped girls pearl jewelry gift white natural fresh water pearl bracelet


Let's compare in more detail the differences between seawater pearls and freshwater pearls:

Ingredients: Seawater pearls have nuclei and a relatively thin pearl texture; Freshwater pearls, except for Edison pearls, are generally coreless, and the entire pearl is composed of pearlite.

Origin: Freshwater pearls are cultured in freshwater environments, such as rivers, lakes, etc; Seawater pearls are cultured in marine or saltwater environments.

Gloss and color: Seawater pearls have rich colors and strong glossiness; Freshwater pearls are mainly white, orange pink, and purple pink, with relatively weak glossiness.

Variety classification: Seawater pearls mainly include Akoya pearls, Mabei pearls, Tahiti black pearls, Australian white pearls, and Nanyang gold pearls; Freshwater pearls mainly include nucleated freshwater pearls and Edison pearls.

Shape: Seawater pearls are usually circular; Freshwater pearls have various shapes, including oval, oblate, and so on.

Aesthetics: The texture of seawater pearls is compact, and the appearance defects are mainly needle like; The surface defects of freshwater pearls are mainly threads and pits, and occasionally different textures may be found on the surface.

Yield and value: Freshwater pearls have a high yield but relatively low value; Seawater pearls have a low yield and high value due to the complex breeding environment and the significant impact of natural conditions.

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15*20mm large size baroque nucleated irregular 925 silver 

freshwater cultured Pearl earrings


So, how to maintain these precious pearls?

First of all, pearls should avoid contact with cosmetics, perfume, sweat and other acidic substances to prevent corrosion of the surface pearl. Secondly, pearls should not be exposed to sunlight or high temperatures for a long time to prevent dehydration and color fading. In addition, pearl jewelry should be stored separately when not worn to avoid scratches caused by collisions with hard jewelry.

We can foresee several trends for the future of pearls. Firstly, with the development of technology, the technology of artificially cultivating pearls will be greatly improved, which may improve the quality and yield of pearls, reduce prices, and enable more people to enjoy the beauty of pearls. Secondly, as consumers' attention to environmental protection and sustainable development increases, environmentally friendly and sustainable pearl farming methods will be more popular. Finally, with the innovation of designers and the increase in personalized demand from consumers, future pearl jewelry may have more styles and designs to meet the needs of different consumers.

Overall, both seawater pearls and freshwater pearls have their own characteristics and advantages. Which one to choose mainly depends on personal preferences and needs. Many people mistakenly believe that saltwater pearls are natural, while freshwater pearls are cultivated. However, this is not true, as these terms define the type of water formed by pearls. Natural pearls can be formed in both seawater and freshwater, but they are very rare and expensive, to the extent that most of the seawater pearls and freshwater pearls found in the market today are cultured. Anyway, pearls are all miracles of nature, and each pearl is unique. They are all worth cherishing and protecting.

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