Freshwater pearls are exactly what the name implies: pearls that grow in freshwater lakes and not in the sea. They are not fake or imitation, they are cultured pearls like all the other varieties, however they are considered less valuable than saltwater pearls. They are officially known, in the United States, as “cultured freshwater pearls” and are mistakenly thought to be imitation since they’re often used in cheap costume jewelry.
Freshwater Pearls – Japan & China
Some of the best quality freshwater pearl rings are made from those harvested from the mollusks in Lake Biwa, Japan, but there is not an abundant supply. Almost all freshwater pearls found in jewelry around the world come from freshwater pearl farms in China.
Cheap Pearl Jewelry
Since fresh water pearls jewelry is so reasonably priced, it is often made into cheap pearl jewelry sets that include drop earrings, pearl chokers, bracelets, and sometimes a pendant and a ring. These sets can be as little as $20 or $30, and therefore give the impression of being fake. The truth is that they are real, but of inferior quality, with a thin nacre or low luster, which may have been enhanced to look better by treatments, bleaches or dyes. They’re not natural pearls in the true sense of the word, but not imitations either.
In this article we don’t delve into the freshwater pearl costume jewelry lines that are available, instead we recommend buying the best genuine items for the lowest prices.
If you desire the best possible freshwater pearl jewelry that has not been treated, or minimally so, and is of good luster with thick nacre and a smooth unblemished surface, grade AAA or AA+, then you will have to pay a little more than cheap fashion jewelry prices, but not much. Where can you get pearl deals?
Buy Freshwater Pearl Jewelry Direct from China
There are some companies that sell their pearls online directly from China and therefore offer incredible savings to shoppers around the world. One such company is Shecy Pearl Jewelry who, in addition to having an online pearl jewelry catalog that is extremely impressive, also have two massive showrooms, one in Shanghai, which is a 37 square foot jewelry shop devoted exclusively to pearls.
Freshwater Pearl Rings Versus Saltwater Pearl Rings
Just to illustrate the price differences between freshwater pearl rings and South Sea varieties, let’s take a look at two of Shecy’s pieces:
- A 10mm AA+ round white freshwater pearl ring mounted beautifully in a solid 18K gold band, costs about $230.
- A similar design in a 10mm AA+ round white South Sea pearl ring, also mounted in a solid 18K gold band, costs between $600 and $2,000.
This is only one example; Shecy has dozens of freshwater pearl rings and jewelry sets that retail between $125 and $200, with similar settings and designs using South Sea, akoya and Tahitian pearls, and invariably the price differences are 5 to 10 times higher for the latter ones.
At first glance, a freshwater pearl ring won’t appear much different from a similar style with a higher quality pearl. So, although we must make it clear that freshwater pearl rings are not investment quality, they certainly are a wonderful way to have pearls without diving too deep into your savings.
Black & White
There are many styles that incorporate diamonds, gemstones and even a mix of pearl colors in two pearl ring designs that are very affordable. And not all freshwater pearl rings are white or pink, there are black varieties and even lavender and deep purple rings that are unusual, of high quality and cost only $150 to $300. This is not costume jewelry, but fine real cultured pearls from the fresh water’s of China.
Also, all the Shecy products are set in 18K white or yellow gold and not in silver or gold plated mountings that will peal or tarnish. These are high quality pieces of jewelry used as wedding rings and bridal sets the world over.
Freshwater Pearl Jewelry Sets from Shecy
The great thing about having a less expensive pearl variety is that it’s possible to have a ring and earrings and a freshwater pearl bracelet to match for under $50, and they’re all genuine, AAA or AA+, quality.
Here are ideas for freshwater pearl jewelry set designs from Shecy:
If you’ve selected a pink pearl ring, the matching bracelet and earrings are about $47, and if you’re in need of beaded bridesmaid jewelry, these may be the perfect sets.
If you have chosen to start your freshwater pearl jewelry collection with a white pearl ring, then add a set of pearl earrings, a bracelet and a necklace for just $48, and walk down the isle with a smile.
If you have decided to buy a coin pearl ring, then match it with a delicate coin pearl pendant and dangle earrings for just under $70.
There is no reason why anyone who yearns for a piece of fresh water pearl jewelry should have to buy cheap imitations when the genuine articles are so affordable.
Start Collecting Pearls
For brides or bridesmaids, for sweetheart gifts, for promise rings, for anniversary surprises, for Christmas gifts or even as birthdays presents, why not start giving collectible pearl items that may be added to year by year. They’re timeless pieces of elegance no matter how much or how little you pay.