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Freshwater Pearls

Contrary to popular belief, oysters do not produce freshwater pearls. This honour goes mainly to the pearl mussels that reside in rivers, ponds, and lakes. The majority of cultured freshwater pearls originate in China. A freshwater mussel can conceivably generate as many as 50 pearls at a time. However, it can take the animal between four and six years to accomplish this. The greater thickness of a pearl mussel’s nacre lends a softer luster to freshwater pearls. This additional heft also endows them with a greater durability, so they are less likely than saltwater pearls to chip or wear down. The colours available in freshwater pearls range from soft pinks, lavenders, peaches, and whites to dramatic shades of peacock and black. This variety of hue combines with their reasonable price to make the freshwater pearl a favourite of the cost-conscious consumer.