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Freshwater Vs. Saltwater Pearls – What’s The Difference?

Here's the place to go if you're new to the world of pearls and want to learn more about the various varieties that are available. To assist you choose which of these amazing jewels is ideal for you or your gift recipient, we will lay down six of the most important distinctions between freshwater and saltwater pearls in this blog article.

5 Key Differences Between Freshwater And Saltwater Pearls Origin

Freshwater pearls, as their name suggests, are produced by mussels that live in freshwater rivers and lakes, and saltwater pearls are obtained from oysters that are found in the ocean. With the exception of the original Biwa pearls, which are native to Lake Biwa in Japan, the majority of freshwater pearls naturally come from the Chinese territory. On the other hand, saltwater pearls form in the warm waters of Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, French Polynesia, and Australia in sheltered bays and lagoons.


The form of freshwater and saltwater pearls differs as well. Freshwater pearls are created around a fragment of natural tissue when human involvement is present, giving them a more asymmetrical shape. Conversely, saltwater pearls are shaped around a spherical bead so that the finish is consistently round and smooth.

Breaking the Myth: A widespread misperception is that freshwater pearls are entirely cultivated, whereas saltwater pearls are only naturally occurring. cultivated pearls are those in which human intervention has been made throughout the pearl's growth phase. Since natural pearls are extremely rare, most pearls, whether saltwater or freshwater, are produced!


The brilliance of these two varieties of pearls is also determined by their formation process. Freshwater pearls produce their nacre layers more quickly and have denser pearls because they are made from a little bit of organic material that decomposes over time. As a result, freshwater pearls have a delicate, dewy sheen.  

In contrast, smaller nacre layers gently grow around a firm base to make saltwater pearls. The saltwater pearl shines brightly and glossy as a result. Pearls from Akoya are particularly renowned for having a clear, glossy sheen. On the other hand, depending on the hue you select, South Sea pearls have a little softer, satin-like appearance with an overtone of either gold or silver.


Pearl jewelry, whether freshwater or saltwater, might be the ideal choice if you enjoy wearing color. The inner nacre of the shell that freshwater pearls are created in is imitated by them. Because shell nacre varies widely in color, a wide range of natural colors, including white, cream, and pastel shades like peach, pink, and purple, are available for these pearls. To bring out the color of freshwater pearls and give them a stronger appearance, they can also be organically colored.

The kind of saltwater pearl greatly influences its color. Though akaiya pearls are typically blue or gray in color, they are frequently bleached white since wearing pure white pearls is still fashionable.


The value of freshwater vs saltwater pearls is arguably the largest difference. A single mollusk may generate anywhere from six to 120 pearls, making freshwater pearl production substantially bigger. On the other hand, oysters that yield saltwater pearls typically yield only one pearl during their lives.

The quantity of saltwater pearls that pearl growers are able to produce in a given year is also restricted by stringent laws and guidelines. Due to their increased scarcity and difficulty in cultivation, saltwater pearls are ultimately more costly than their freshwater counterparts.

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