Freshwater pearls come from bivalve mollusks that live in lakes and streams (fresh water) rather than the ocean (salt water). Today, they are generally grown and harvested specifically for the pearls in “farms.” The majority of pearls sold in the jewelry market are farmed in China. They come from mollusks that can grow multiple pearls over their lifespan. Freshwater pearls vary in size, shape and color. Natural colors such as “white, pink, orange, and other pastels - can be achieved through natural means, including the pearl mollusk's genetics, what they eat, and the amount and type of trace metals in the cultivating environment.” (https://www.bluenile.com/education/pearl/freshwater-pearls)
Pearls can also be irradiated or dyed after they have been harvested. This results in a variety of fun and interesting colors, giving the discerning pearl jewelry buyer the opportunity to enhance any outfit.
Fresh water pearls can be purchased in a variety of sizes and shapes. “Most freshwater pearl information notes their varied shapes, including potato-shaped and stick pearls, rice-shaped and button pearls, coin-shaped and drop pearls, off-round and round pearls.” (https://www.pearlparadise.com/pages/freshwater-information)
One thing that makes a pearl unique is its coating of “nacre, also known as mother of pearl, which is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some molluscs (mollusks) as an inner shell layer; it also makes up the outer coating of pearls. It is strong, resilient, and iridescent.” (Wikipedia) The irridscence is what gives pearls that “rainbow-type” sheen.
At the pearl farms, the mollusk is helped to create a pearl when man places an irritant inside the bivalve mollusk. Different shapes of irritants are chosen in the hopes of producing differently shaped pearls. The mollusk places the nacre around the irritant to protect its soft interior from being irritated by the intrusive material. Cool, Huh?
No wonder pearls are so beautiful! It would seem that nacre to the pearl and mollusk is like love to the human race. Both change an irritant into something of beauty and value!
Thanks for reading this short post. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about pearls. For instance:
- When is your favorite time to wear your pearls?
- Do you prefer the classic round pearl or the fun and funky stick pearls?
- Do you like naturally colored pearls or pearls that are dyed?
- What is your favorite pearl color?
- Do you prefer a pearl necklace, earrings, ring or bracelet? (or like me, all of the above?)
- What color of pearl jewelry would you like to see at CJ’s Jewelry Creations?