Most Joslin’s customers are interested to learn that most pearls, whether saltwater or freshwater, are cultivated – not natural.

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between freshwater and saltwater pearls to learn more.


Joslin’s Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater pearls

Unlike saltwater pearls, freshwater pearls are grown in lakes and rivers. For many years farmers implanted the mussels with bits of mollusk tissue so that the mussel encased with nacre, resulting in a pearl. However, the pearls didn’t look like a traditional, round saltwater cultivated pearl. Despite this, the technique can produce up to 20 freshwater pearls out of one mussel. In the last few years there has been more mussel experimentation with different types of implanting techniques in an attempt to make a higher quality pearl.

Freshwater pearls have a soft luster and are a more affordable option for those looking to own a beautiful pearl piece of jewelry. 

Saltwater pearls

Saltwater pearls are grown in the ocean and are the most valuable pearls around the world with three main types: Akoya pearls, Tahitian pearls, and South Sea pearls.

The beginning of a saltwater pearl requires a seed pearl. The resulting pearl depends on the oyster and the skill of the maker implanting the seed pearl. Almost half of the oysters chosen to start the process never produce pearls due to weather, temperature, pollution and even pearl pirates. Only about 20 percent of saltwater pearls end up in high-quality jewelry.

Saltwater pearls have a more brilliant shine and luster than freshwater pearls and are more expensive.

Pearl facts:

  • After implanting the seed pearl, oysters are tended to by divers as they grow.
  • The color of the pearl depends mainly on the color of the oyster shell itself.
  • The value of the pearl depends on several factors: size, color and luster.
  • The deeper the color is, the more valuable the pearl. The larger the pearl is, the more valuable it is. The higher the luster is, the more valuable the pearl. 
  • The three main types of saltwater pearls are Tahitian, Akoya and South Sea pearls. 

Looks can definitely be deceiving when it comes to pearls – but no matter your budget, you can own some beautiful pearl pieces from Joslin’s Jewelry! 

Now that you’re knowledgeable on the differences between freshwater and saltwater pearls, stop in to Joslin’s today to find the perfect pearl piece for yourself or a loved one!