Saltwater vs Freshwater Pearls: What’s The Difference?
What Are Freshwater Pearls?
These are harvested from freshwater mussels, which can each produce up to 30 pearls. This high productivity opposed to saltwater mussels (only one pearl at a time) makes the freshwater pearls more affordable, as they are not so rare and are easier to cultivate. Freshwater pearls are grown in Japan and the U.S. but tend to be mostly exclusive to China. One of the unique aspects of these types of pearls is that as the freshwater mussel ages, it starts to produce pearls with much higher luster.
What Are Saltwater Pearls?
These types of pearls are harvested from a saltwater oyster (mollusk) in a saline environment and each only produces one pearl at a time. This makes the saltwater pearls rarer and hence more expensive. However, their mysterious appeal is certainly worth it. They also tend to have a naturally more round shape than their freshwater cousins. Saltwater pearls come in 3 distinct types depending on the region:
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Sure, perfectly round pearls may be the most popular and traditional shape, but did you know that there are at least another 6 shapes to choose from? This can make shopping for pearls a whole new adventure! You’ll notice that these more unusual pearl shapes are also considered quite unique. So, here’s what you need to know about buying and styling 7 common pearl shapes: