Any shelled mollusk is capable of producing a pearl – in fresh or salt water. Freshwater mussels are the source of the vast Chinese freshwater pearl industry.
Most freshwater pearls are entirely nacre. Nacre is the natural substance that a mollusk secretes to protect its sensitive flesh from an irritant. It is the same iridescent material that lines the inner surface of the mollusk shell, also known as mother-of-pearl.
By contrast, the majority of a cultured saltwater pearl’s volume is composed of an implanted shell nucleus which is only coated with a thin layer of nacre, which can wear thin. The all nacre freshwater pearls have lustre and luminescent depths that are considered unrivalled by cultured saltwater pearls.
The Chinese learned that the placement and shape of the inserted live mantle tissue is decisive for the shape and quality of the finished pearl. The freshwater pearls of today are available in a nearly round shape, as well as varied shapes such as rice, potato, baroque, stick, coin and keshi.
Freshwater pearls are the most common type of pearls and are available in a range of quality and price ranges. We have personally selected pearls that we feel offer a very high quality for a very affordable price.