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What are Gem Grade Freshwater Pearls

I won't get into the techincal nuts and bolts about how we source our gem grade freshwater pearls. But what you need to know is true gem grade freshwater pearls represent the very best in pearl culturing techniques and require several tons(yes tons, that's not a typo!) of pearls to produce just one matched strand of this quality.

They will have little to no blemishing and an "eye round" shape. Technically they won't be perfectly round(8-way rollers) but to the human eye they will appear round. The luster is bright and crisp but a little softer then that of top grade Akoya pearls.

Honestly, most pearl novices wouldn't be able to tell them apart from their higher priced Akoya pearl counterparts. Check out the photo below to see what I mean.

How Do Gem Grade Freshwater Pearls Compare to Akoya Pearls?

It's a question I get a lot. The short answer is Akoya pearls are still the best choice if you want a perfect set of classic white pearls. However if you want the most value, the most bang for you buck -- gem grade freshwater pearls are king.

In the photo below I have 3 strands.

  • Bottom Strand: AAA 9-9.5mm Akoya pearls -Price tag: $4000
  • Middle Strand: AA+ 9-9.5mm Akoya pearls - Price tag: $2500
  • Top Strand: Gem Grade 9-10mm Freshwater Pearls - Price Tag: $1000

gem grade freshwater pearls vs. AAA Akoya Pearls

Looking at the above picture, most would agree that the Akoya strands(bottom & middle) are the nicer strands. The AAA strand especially has a noticeably brighter luster then the gem grade freshwater. But the gem grade freshwater pearls(top) with slightly softer luster are still very nice and at 1/4 the price the value is unmatched.

My goal with this post is not to push you one way or the other, but to expand upon your options. If you want the best go with Akoya pearls, but if your working with a smaller budget and want more bang for your buck, gem grade freshwater pearls are certainly worth a look.

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