The Chinese cultured pearl industry is so very unique dating back to the late 1200s when a man name Yu Shun Yang cultivating blister or rice "rice krispy" pearls in a bi-valve mollusk called Cristaria Plicata. Well by the mid 1900s, pearl farmers switched to a triangle shaped mussel called the Hyriopsis Cumingii producing much larger pearls, smoother surfaces, rounder shapes and better color and luster.
The Value Factors of Owning Freshwater Pearl Jewelry
Purchasing freshwater pearl jewelry has much more plentiful, available shapes, sizes, color and variety of uses as compared to south sea pearl jewelry due to it's variety of cultivating shapes. Familiar baroque shapes found are fish, butterflies, and ballerina torso molded with a metal design to compliment the pearl. Freshwater pearls are also generally lower compared to Tahitian and South Sea with the same and equal quality. The economic law of supply and demand and the large size of the annual production of Chinese freshwater pearls allow for this difference not found in the south sea market.
What are the distinctive characteristics of Freshwater Pearls?
The most amazing science of nucleation is the experimentation with various production methods such as second generation and CBSB (Coin Beaded /Spherical Beaded). Many freshwater farmers implant 12-16 implants per valve thereby producing a maximum of up to 32 per mussel. Less than 2% of 7-10mm production is not round or near round. Tissue nucleated in the H. Cumingii can orange, peach, lavender, purple, yellow, cream. Many of the the 882 tons of yearly production in China but there is a small percentage that are not suitable for jewelry. These pearls are sometimes ground into healthy powder for facial masks other cosmetics. Second generation cultivation only occurs in 10% of all freshwater mussels and the result is less round/near round but more baroque and button shaped pearls. The CBSB method is fairly new in Chinese freshwater cultivation. A 11mm x 5mm bead is inserted into the mantle valve producing .5 to .75mm of nacre, therefore 11.75 x 5.75mm. If the mussel's age is 5-6 and is nucleated in a second generation phrase, another .5-75mm is added and therefore increases to 12.5mm x 6.5mm. Uniquely, the CBSB method can cultivate deeper and richer color in a 8 year growth period and give the pearl a deep intensity that is not achieved via 3-7 period of a non CBSB method.