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The Wide World of Pearls, Our 90th Issue: Freshwater Pearl Buyer's Guide


Pearls of Joy Pearl Quote of the Week: "Value them; they are pearls of great price." -  Kristin Cast



Eye Candy

Freshwater Souffle Pearl Rainbow Colors




Freshwater pearls come in nearly every color of the rainbow! Here we have a lovely assortment of Soufflé Freshwater pearls in Pink, Lavender, Peach and Greenish-Gold. That's one yummy soufflé!


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Freshwater Pearl Buyer's Guide



Your Guide to Buying Freshwater Pearls

Fun, feminine and so very affordable, the Freshwater pearl is on the fast-track to become the world’s most interesting and ever-changing pearl type.
The Freshwater Pearl Buyer’s Guide from the pearl experts at PearlsofJoy.com is here to answer all your questions about these colorful pearls. From the pearl farms to their dazzling array of colors to learning how to grade and evaluate each freshwater pearl grade … all your questions will be answered here.

Freshwater Pearl Basics

Freshwater Pearl Basics

  • Small to Moderately Large Sizes: Freshwater pearls traditionally range from small 3.0mm pearls to 12.0 mm sizes. Very large sizes have come onto the market within the past few years for specialty Freshwater pearls using new cultivation techniques … these pearls are known as “Edison” pearls and regularly attain 15.0 mm and 16.0 mm sizes, rivaling the famed South Sea pearls from Australia.
  • Irregular Shapes: very rarely are Freshwater pearls perfectly round in shape. Most often, these pearls are off-round, oval-shaped and even potato-shaped. Many other shapes exist, but for fine jewelry purposes, we will stick with these.
  • Rainbow of Natural Colors: Freshwater pearls are famous for their completely natural colors of Pink, Peach, Lavender and White. Other natural colors have been spotted recently at specialty pearl shows overseas, but for the most part these four pearl colors are what you’ll encounter today.
  • Satin-Like Luster: Freshwater pearls display a softer, more “satiny” luster than their saltwater counterparts like the Akoya pearl. This means more blurry reflections, and appear to emanate a subtle glow rather than a ball-bearing shine.
  • Freshwater Pearl Type: Freshwater pearls are cultured peal type in the hyriopsis cumingii freshwater pearl mussel in China.


 Freshwater Pearl Colors


Freshwater Pearl Colors

Traditionally, Freshwater pearls are available in natural shades of pink and peach, white and lavender colors.

Strands can be all-classic whites, pinks, peaches, lavenders or multi-colored as shown above. 


 Black Freshwater Pearl Colors


Black Freshwater pearls are the results of a color-treatment process, typically dye, but can also receive radiation treatments to achieve its colors. The pearls are a very dark, black body color with intense "Peacock" overtones of blue-green, rose, gold, dark blues and more.


Freshwater Pearl Shapes 


Freshwater Pearl Shapes

At this point, it should be pretty obvious that Freshwater pearls are infamous for their off-round and oval shapes. Perfectly round pearls account for a tiny percentage of Freshwater pearls at harvest, and are more highly sought after and valued than any other shape today. 


Freshwater Pearl Value 


Freshwater Pearl Value

Freshwater pearls are appreciated for their modest price points, while still being able to offer incredible beauty and a luxury-style pearl necklace or pair of earrings that everyone is sure to love wearing. For affordability and versatility, Freshwater pearls are hard to match.

Freshwater Pearl Jewelry Value Chart


Freshwater Pearl grading  

Freshwater Pearl Grading

PearlsofJoy.com uses the A - AAA Grading System to evaluate cultured Freshwater pearls. On the A – AAA Scale, “AAA” represents the highest pearl quality and pearl grades gradually step down to “A”, which is the lowest (usually commercial quality) pearl grade available.

Click on any grade on the accordion below to view a picture of each grade, and a detailed breakdown of each rank.

Jewelers and appraisers use “7 Value Factors” to evaluate and grade pearls. Five of those factors are used to determine a pearl’s grade on the A – AAA Grading Scale.

Freshwater Pearl Value Factors Are:

  • Surface Quality
  • Luster
  • Shape
  • Matching
  • Nacre Thickness (if applicable)
When it comes to Freshwater pearls, there's SO much more to know! If you'd like to dive deeper into the world of Freshwater pearl origins, pearl grading details, Freshwater vs. Akoya pearl comparisons and more, click the link below to read the full Buyer's Guide!
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Weekly Product Spotlight: Pink Freshwater Pearl Necklace and Earring Set



Pink Freshwater Necklace and Stud Earring Set, 7.0-7.5mm

This lovely pearl set would make a great gift for any occasion! The set includes a gorgeous 7.0-7.5mm Pink Freshwater pearl necklace with matching 7mm pearl stud earrings.
The set is available in either AAA or Gem quality. The stud backings and clasp are both 14K gold and will be matched according to the gold color chosen.

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