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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In the past, harvesting pearls was only possible in the wild. This is because thousands upon thousands of oysters would need to be caught and opened just to source a few of these gems. As a result, centuries of pearl rushes and over-exploitation put a massive strain on this natural resource. However, with the invention and rise in popularity of cultivated pearl farming over the 20th century, this widespread large-scale fishing for oysters was finally put to an end.
This season’s runways were absolutely crawling with exciting pearl jewelry of all kinds. From Chanel to Loewe, the crème de la crème of the fashion world are showcasing risk-taking pearl pieces. Think necks dripping in pearls, pendants and bronzed chains or quirky charm bracelets and even hair accessories. We’ve taken a look at all of the trending favourites and here are the ones we’re loving the most!