All our pearls are freshwater. Freshwater pearls are cultivated in mussels rather than oysters, and most of the world’s supply are farmed in the lakes, rivers and ponds of China, often along the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) river. The history of the Chinese Freshwater pearl is vast. It has been reported that in 2206 BC, pearls from fresh sources were already being paid as tributes, and descriptions about them can be seen in records such as the Chinese dictionary ‘Kangxizidian’, which dates back to the 18th century.
They are easier to grow than salt water pearls; one freshwater mussel can grow a multitude of pearls at a time, compared to salt water oysters that usually produce only one pearl. That said, the cultivation of Freshwater pearls is still a labour of love; mussels are often cultivated in farms in southern regions where pearl formation is faster, and then moved to northern farms (that have slower cultivation) to produce a compact nacre for better colour and lustre. They come in a range of colours including white, peach, pink and purple.

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