Freshwater Cultured Pearls

The triangle mussel, Hyriopsis cumingi, produces freshwater pearls typically found in lakes and ponds. These mussels can grow up to 30cm in length and live for over a decade. Many countries produce freshwater pearls, but China currently has the largest production volume.

Price of Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater pearls are known for their wide variety of colours and shapes. This makes them a popular choice for those who want to add a touch of elegance to their jewellery collection. These pearls are often more affordable than other types of cultured pearls, with prices starting at $300 for a strand. However, the highest quality freshwater pearls can reach a four-digit price tag. As with all pearls, the price depends on the quality of the pearl. Because freshwater pearls are less rare due to their high production volume, they tend to be more affordable overall.

Quality Over Quantity


Freshwater pearl mussels have the ability to produce an average of 40 pearls per harvest, unlike saltwater pearl oysters, which usually produce one pearl per oyster. However, pearl farmers strive to improve the quality of the pearls by reducing the quantity, thereby putting more resources into each pearl to make it bigger and better quality

Various !

Freshwater Pearl Shapes

Interesting Shapes

assorted shapes freshwater pearl loose strands

Most freshwater pearls are mantle-grown, which means that they are not produced using the traditional beaded technique. Therefore, these pearls are rarely round, and tend to have oval or circular shapes as well as rice-like shapes. However, due to demand, some pearl farms have begun using beaded techniques to grow round or near-round freshwater pearls. In addition to these shapes, there are also coin-shaped, petal-shaped and fireball-shaped freshwater pearls.

Freshwater Pearl Colours

Range of Colours

multi colour pearls in a strand with black background

Freshwater pearls are highly sought after by jewellery designers because of their diverse range of colours, which includes natural pastel shades such as white, cream, lavender, orange and pink. These pearls can also be irradiated or dyed to change or enhance their colours, making them suitable for a variety of jewellery styles. Freshwater pearls are often compared to Akoya pearls, which also feature natural pastel shades.

Freshwater Pearl Sizes

Different Sizes

different shapes freshwater pearl strands

Freshwater pearls come in a variety of sizes, from small seed or rice pearls measuring only 1-2mm to larger baroque shapes that can be more than 10mm in size. The size of the pearl is often determined by the shape of the pearl, with some shapes resulting in smaller pearls and others in larger ones. Regardless of size, all freshwater pearls are popular in jewellery design as each pearl has a unique character and charm.

Freshwater Pearls in Short

  • Freshwater pearls are a popular choice for jewellery because of their wide range of colours and low price.
  • They are cultured in mussels and can come in a variety of shapes, from round to baroque.
  • Freshwater pearls can vary in size from 1-2mm for seed pearls or rice pearls to over 10mm for baroque shapes.
  • Each pearl adds a unique touch to any design, making them a versatile choice for any piece of jewellery.

Other Pearl Types

If you're interested in learning more about other types of pearls, check out our South Sea and Tahitian pearl pages for more information on these luxurious gemstones.

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