HomeMajor Colored StonesPearl Freshwater pearl


A freshwater pearl is a pearl that is cultured in a mussel in a lake, whereas the traditional cultured pearl is cultured in an oyster in the ocean (salt water pearls are called Akoya pearls). Freshwater cultured pearls are less expensive than the Akoya pearls.

Freshwater pearls come in many shapes from round to button shapes, from flat flakes to rice shapes and in many colors. As with the salt water Akoya pearl the round shapes are generally more expensive.


Cultured freshwater pearls are produced in Japan and the United States on a limited scale, but are now almost exclusively produced in China. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission requires that farmed freshwater pearls be referred to as "freshwater cultured pearls" in commerce. Quality of cultured freshwater pearls is evaluated through a grading system of a series of a values, based on luster, shape, surface, color and matching.

Freshwater pearls have more nacre than their saltwater cousins

When the freshwater pearl is drilled, the mantle tissue used to nucleate the pearl is either dissolved or drilled out you are left with a solid pearl that will last a lifetime! This is unlike the various saltwater pearl varieties that still contain the nucleus in the finished product. Also, for the same grade / quality of pearls, freshwater pearls are a lot more affordable than saltwater pearls.

One of the main differences between freshwater and their saltwater cousins are their bearer

While Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea pearls are cultured in Saltwater oysters (e.g. Akoya /pinctada Fucata, Black-Lipped Oyster/pinctada Margaritifera, Golden-lipped Oyster/pinctada Maxima etc.), freshwater pearls are most commonly cultured in freshwater mollusks such as the Triangle Shell. Most of the oysters can only produce one or two pearls at a time, while it’s possible to harvest up to 50 pearls in a single freshwater mollusk. Therefore freshwater pearls are more cost efficient to grow.

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