White cultured pearls may appear a lot same but are nurtured on different environment – freshwater and saltwater. The structure, shape, luster, and blemishing of saltwater and freshwater pearls are all distinct. Therefore, there is a large difference in pricing.
Saltwater pearls are ‘bead nucleated’, so you get perfect round shape and freshwater pearls are ‘tissue nucleated’, so oval or potato shapes are formed. The former reveals mirror-like luster, while the latter displays subtle luster or satiny shine from within structural composition.
The pearliculture technique to produce saltwater Akoya Pearls [‘Mikimoto’ pearls] is challenging. It is less risky to produce freshwater pearls. Therefore, less risk means low prices.
Which type of pearl to buy? Saltwater or freshwater
Choosing the pearl type will depend on factors like shape, luster, price, comprehended value and personal aesthetics.
Pick saltwater pearls if you ……
- Want perfectly round shaped pearls with excellent luster.
- Prefer classic, high end ‘Mikimoto’ style pearl necklace.
- Have a sufficient budget to buy the white pearl bracelet [saltwater pearls are costly].
- Mean to wear on special occasions like dinner parties, weddings, church, family get-together, etc.
- Aim to treasure the classic pearl strands for years and probably hand down to next generation.
Select freshwater pearls if you……
- Are worried that pearls will be not be handled carefully or may get lost. Lower prices make them easily replaceable.
- Want to give ‘first pearls’ gift to your young girls or nieces who are not aware about taking care of pearls. Freshwater pearls are very durable and can handle rough usage.
- Wish to wear a white pearl bracelet but your budget is lower than your capacity to buy saltwater pearls.
- Are fine with pearl shape variation and softer glow in comparison.
- Are looking for pearl strands that can be worn daily [capable to handle the perfume, hot days, kids’ sticky fingers, and more].
Basically, everyone agrees that Mikimoto pearls display more elegant presentation. When you discuss about white pearl necklace, they have become a standard because in shape and luster category they meet high quality criteria.
Professional jewelry market and consumers highly value saltwater pearls. They are capable of commanding high price over the off-round or slightly off-round, and soft luster freshwater pearls.