The where and how of Freshwater Pearls

By: Pattrickjohnson

Pearls that are harvested from mussels, found in fresh waters are called freshwater pearls . The production of these pearls is mostly exclusive to China . Japan and the US are also into its production but on a limited basis.

Freshwater pearls are hardly round or even close to it. They come in a varying range of shapes that includes rice, drop, button, oval, semi-round, baroque and round. They are found in different colors and hues such as red, yellow, silvery white, blue, green, purple, cream, bronze, copper, salmon, pink, lavender and brown. Among the common ones are the white pearls whereas, lavender, purple roses and pastel pinks are the rare and the expensive ones. Genetics, water quality, mussel species and the situation of the pearl inside the shell determines the actual color of the pearl.

The value of freshwater pearls is dictated by its color, shape, and quality, degree of translucency, luster and texture. Pearl farms mix a little quantity of metal in the water to affect the color of the pearls.

Even though the Japanese freshwater pearl industry has almost expired, it still commands special historical importance. It was the country that started the cultivation of freshwater pearls using the Biwa pearly mussels of Lake Biwa . The Tennessee pearl farm also demands historic significance, as it is the only producer of freshwater pearls outside of Asia . China has become the only commercial manufacturer of freshwater pearls. It generated approximately 1500 tons of pearls in 2005 from the Triangle Shell Mussels and several other hybrids.

The Chinese began the grafting process by choosing an appropriate mussel donor and splitting a shred of tissue from the mantle. This shred of tissue is then divided into 3mm piece. These pieces are handed over to a technician who executes the procedure. The technician makes little openings on the upper valve of another mussel, and put in the tissue portion. After many numbers of grafts have been carried out, the mussel is turned over, and the method is repeated again on the other side of the valve.

The pearls are taken to a first stage factory right after harvesting. This factory cleans and sorts the pearls depending on the size after which they are considered ready for processing. The pearls are then pre-treated in a cold and warm solution of chemicals and bleached. After bleaching, the drilling takes place and then the polishing with a blend of wax and cornmeal. And thus they become wholesale ready.

The sponsor describes in detail about Pearls on his website. His observation on Freshwater Pearls can be found on his website, where you could also purchase these products.

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