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Freshwater vs. Saltwater from


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Our mission at The Pearl Girls is to provide the best quality pearls in a variety of amazing designs. Under the direction of Certified Pearl Grader, India Rows, each year we travel to Hong Kong and …

Our mission at The Pearl Girls is to provide the best quality pearls in a variety of amazing designs. Under the direction of Certified Pearl Grader, India Rows, each year we travel to Hong Kong and hand select the finest cultured pearls to create our jewelry collections. We carry a dazzling Classic Collection. Each year we develop two Seasonal Collections featuring modern designs of these classic gems. Each collection is rich with a variety of cultured pearls from classic round pearls to baroque pearls. We also keep up with the latest advances in pearl culturing practices and designs.

The Pearl Girls jewelry is available online and through fine retailers nationwide.

All pieces in The Pearl Girls line come with a Certificate of Authenticity.

Follow the The Pearl Girls online!Website: http://www.thepearlgirls.comFacebook:

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  • 1. Freshwater versus SaltwaterAt The Pearl Girls we absolutely love freshwater pearls. Although we use some saltwater pearls in ourpieces, we love freshwater because they are the closest rival to natural pearls. We know that somepeople misunderstand freshwater pearls. After Mikimoto started culturing saltwater pearls in the early1900s, he tried the same process in freshwater yet he could not produce gem quality pearls! Thefreshwater pearls looked like pieces of rice. So, the name freshwater pearls became synonymous withoff sized, lower quality pearls. How times have changed!World War II halted the efforts to culture freshwater pearls in Japan and led to the Chinese taking overperfecting this process. They have come leaps and bounds in the past decades producing large, beautifuland round freshwater pearls. So, what is the difference in freshwater and saltwater pearls? To answerthis, we turn to Pearls: A Natural History which was a huge exhibit on pearls at the American Museum ofNatural History. Unfortunately, this exhibit is no longer available but the book from the exhibit remainsa valuable resource.Although the composition of pearls remains the same, there are five differences in the process ofculturing freshwater pearls versus saltwater pearls. First, to get the freshwater mussels, their larvaemust survive. This is a difficult process because the larvae attach to a fish host before theymetamorphose. So, survival of the mollusk becomes an issue of culturing fish as well as the musselsused for pearls.Inside the saltwater oyster or the freshwater mussel, the placement of the nucleus is different. Insaltwater pearls, a bead or shell is inserted in the gonad of the oyster. This is not possible in freshwatermollusks because of its different composition. In freshwater mollusks a small piece of tissue is placed inthe soft mantle tissue which lines the shell. A piece of shell would never fit in this thin lining so a piece oftissue is used instead. This leads to our third difference..I have said before that freshwater pearls are the closest rivals to natural pearls. Because the nucleus isjust a piece of tissue, these tissue-nucleated freshwater pearls are 100% nacre and are difficult todistinguish from freshwater pearls which have no nucleus at all. They are all pearl and tend to be heavierthan their saltwater counterparts.Freshwater pearls can be nucleated many times meaning that the yield from a freshwater mollusk ishigher than that of a saltwater oyster.Freshwater environments are easier to maintain than saltwater environments. In the ocean there tendto be more pollutants which harm the pearl production. Saltwater pearl farms must expend a lot ofenergy to clean their oysters both before and after nucleation.Finally, saltwater pearl productions cost more money than freshwater. Saltwater farms require divers,
  • 2. ships, boats and complex equipment to access and maintain their saltwater pearl oysters. Freshwaterfarms are able to maintain their productions on a smaller scale. The total cost put into producing asaltwater pearl is considerable higher that what it takes to produce a freshwater pearl.I hope this helps you understand the differences in these pearl processes. Let us know if you have anyquestions!Follow the The Pearl Girls online!Website: http://www.thepearlgirls.comFacebook: