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Freshwater pearls

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Known best for their unique shapes and wide variety of sizes and colors, the character of a freshwater pearl is found in its special surface texture and the warmth of its luster.

necklace with pearls

An interesting piece of freshwater pearl fact: a single freshwater pearl mussel is capable of producing up to 50 pearls at a time (although current production limits each shell to 24-32 pearls). Most freshwater pearl information lists several areas of the world as home to pearl-producing mussels, the global freshwater market is overwhelmingly dominated by Chinese pearl farms, which account for nearly all freshwater pearls sold today.

Pearl

On freshwater pearl farms, each mussel is implanted surgically with around 30 tiny pieces of mantle tissue, a process known as nucleation. Once the tissue has been put in place, a sac forms and cells begin secreting nacre, forming a calcium-carbonate compound, which is a pearl. Over the period of 2-7 years, the mussels deposit layer upon layer of nacre around the growing gems, generally producing more than two dozen pearls clustered on the inside of each shell.