As precious as cultured pearls normally are, nothing beats the rare beauty of freshwater pearls. Produced in lakes and smaller rivers, they grow with imperfections that make them perfect all on their own. All the rough edges and scars when combined with the incredible sheen make them all the more unique. All jewelry designers along with pearl connoisseurs have been going gaga over them. Due to this alone, they have a huge demand in the market and have been what anyone would call, the ultimate royalty. Our article entails everything you would want to know about freshwater pearls so keep reading and enjoy knowing about your favorite kind of pearls.
Where do freshwater pearls come from?
Its brief background history is related to some ancient Chinese story that claims that the pearls had a breakthrough in the international market around 1970. However, the actual history is a little different. It is said that the farming of freshwater pearls already started many centuries ago which can even be proved through the Chinese manuscript that in the 13th century, blister pearls were highly popular and farmed due to huge demand.
Historians site the emergence of blister pearl cultivation in Yu Shun Yang with the help of the Lake Taihu bredd. What struck so unusually was the resemblance among 700-year-old farming methods compared with modern ones. Farmers' way of working usually began with the use of spheres made of nacre, shrapnel, or reshaped lead pieces (generally representing Buddha) for the mollusk's nucleus at the time.
Production of freshwater pearls
Organizations that are involved in the business of freshwater pearls use a total of 10 breeds of mollusks, in which Hyriopsis cumingi and Cristaria Plicata are the most common ones. The first task in the freshwater pearl nucleus implantation procedure is to collect a long strip of tissue from a mollusk donor and cut it into small squares of nearly 2 to 3 centimeters side length. The technician will then close the valve with a wedge to block the tight end mollusk's shell. The technician will make two sets of incisions in the mantle tissue of the first valve through the small opening created to insert a fragment of the donor's tissue into these incisions. After that, the wedge is removed, and the mollusk closes its shell before being brought back to the water.
Colors, shapes, and sizes are available
One thing about freshwater pearls that always puts them in the market for huge demand is the vast variety of colors, shapes, and sizes they come in. It’s a little confusing to observe the colors due to the interference of shades and reflection. A basic trick to distinguish the two is by observing the base color at the edges while the shade appears over the center of the pearl. The pearls come in white, pink, grey, blue, yellow, cream, etc with highly popular shades including lavender, white, and apricot.
It is important to understand that the size of cultured pearls is depended upon factors like the timeframe of staying underwater, climate, plankton’s nutritional quality, etc. The bigger the size of the pearl, the more valuable it is going to be in the market. On the other hand, the shape is dependent upon nothing but the randomness of our natural world. Some of the shapes and sizes that cultured pearls come in include a spherical, semi-spherical, button, drop pearls, oval pearls, etc.
What makes them so different?
The extraction of freshwater pearls is what sets them apart from the other pearls. Most of the cultured pearls aren’t bead nucleated, meaning fresh mollusks undergo nucleation by just creating an incision within the small fleshy tissue of a nearly 6 to 12 month old mussel. When some room is made, a 3mm square piece of mantle tissue is inserted right into it. The donor graft tissue is rounded out around the edges.
Even though a freshwater mollusk is capable of sustaining atmost 25 insertions per valve, it is widely known industry practice to perform only 12-16 insertions in either valve, for a total production of 24-32 pearls. The mollusks are then restored to their aquatic habitats, where they will be cared for for the next 2-6 years. The resulting pearls are solid nacre, but because there is no bead nucleus to guide their growth, they are hardly ever properly round.
How to know if its real
With a market that’s always ready to rip you off, it's important to be as aware of the things you’re about to spend your money on. Here are some patch tests that you need to perform to get a feel of how real a pearl is.
The touch tests are the biggest giveaway for how real a freshwater pearl is. Rubbing the pearls with your fingers to get the feel of the pearl lets you know about its texture. If it's rough and textural then it's probably real. Fake pearls are usually too perfect. Rub them together to see if they’re creating some kind of friction or not. The friction is the sign that the pearls are gritty which prevents them from gliding smoothly.
Make sure to look for small imperfections that are usually present in pearls. Imitations are flawless and don’t have any scars or rough edges. Sheen is another feature that precisely determines the right value of the pearls. Check how much light is reflected through the pearls when it is lit.
Wishing for some freshwater pearl jewelry now? Well, it's a given how truly dazzling freshwater pearl necklaces and bracelets are. Flaws define the very nature of your persona, the same goes for these pearls. All the rough edges along with their scars combine to form freshwater pearls that outshine any other type of pearls present in the market. We hope that our article had been incredibly informative for you in providing the utmost knowledge about these precious pearls and the way they've cemented their place in the market industry.
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