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Salt water Akoya pearls vs. fresh water pearls.

Started 1286088492.843 in Jewelry Talk | Last reply 1286312989.46 by runnergirl77

I never see ads for salt water pearls anymore. All the ads I see are for fresh water pearls.

Why is that? Are Akoya pearls very rare now or more expensive than even two years ago?

I'm just curious. Do you know?

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esmeraldag­ooch1286104408.7813296 PostsRegistered 1/7/2008Adopt a Rescue Pet, who rescues who?

There are many more freshwater pearls harvested each year compared to Akoya's. The price difference between the two makes freshwaters attractive also. Hyundai versus Lexus. In the past you couldn't find round freshwaters, but now some companies are buying the top of the harvest and you can find Freshdama grade freshwaters.

If you would like to find some Freshwaters and Akoya's to compare looks and prices try Pearl Paradise dot com, They have both Freshdama and Handama grade or lower grades if you are interested.

“Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”
Shannon L. Alder

Big Sister1286155298.096218 PostsRegistered 5/15/2010Southern California

Thank you for your reply. I was curious. I thought it might be because of the huge industry in China of farming freshwater pearls. It makes sense that they would be more prevalent.

I'll check out the site Pearl Paradise.com. thanks.

Dachsie1286156148.922607 PostsRegistered 6/4/2006

I do not know what a Freshdama fresh water pearl looks like, but I have always been able to tell immediately the difference in the two kinds of pearls. Freshwater are always much whiter and from my experience noticeably less round, especially larger ones.

I would like to see a freshwater pearl in a teardrop shape. I just learned they do exist but I could not find anything on the web about them.

esmeraldag­ooch1286192041.3713296 PostsRegistered 1/7/2008Adopt a Rescue Pet, who rescues who?

I headed over to the pearl guide to get more information.... Apparently they only nucleate one mop bead in each Akoya, where they can tissue nucleate up to 50 in a freshwater.

“Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”
Shannon L. Alder

Lavenderju­nkie1286197774.7713712 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Another thing to be aware of.... freshwater pearls are generally almost all nacre. They are nucleated with a small piece of tissue. Salt water pearls are nucleated with a mop bead. As a result, the amount of nacre on a freshwater pearl is much, much, much thicker than on a salt water pearl. The very best salt water Akoya pearls are lovely. But there are a lot of salt water pearls in the market that have very thin layers of nacre. These are neither lovely nor valuable.

There are stunning fresh water pearls and stunning salt water pearls. There are ugly fresh water pearls and ugly salt water pearls. The name does not convey the quality.

Many years ago, fresh water pearls were like rice crispys in shape. Not so anymore. There are some very round fresh water pearls. And because there is a higher yield in producing fresh water pearls (because of the different cultivation process, among other things), the fresh water pearls are generally much more affordable than the salt water pearls.

runnergirl­771286312989.46270 PostsRegistered 12/13/2007FL

The other difference between saltwater cultured and freshwater cultured is the sharpness of the luster. Saltwater pearls have a very sharp, mirror-like luster while freshwaters have a softer, more diffused "glow."

I recently purchased a natural white Hanadama from pearl paradise. It's a gorgeous, metallic white. I didn't want the traditional "pink" overtones with most akoyas. I went and looked at some Mikimotos and was astonished how pink they were! I know people say they look better on the skin, but I don't like pink {#emotions_dlg.blush}

I know the nacre thickness is a problem with akoyas, which is why I got the Hanadamas which give me the average thickness in a certificate so I know exactly what I'm buying. Otherwise, the nacre could wear off in a few years of heavy wear (and reveal the mother-of-pearl bead inside). I don't wear mine that often, so I am not too worried.

I plan on trying the Freshadamas at some point since they are SO much more affordable! Shoot, for what I paid for my Hanadamas I could have gotten a much larger mm pearl necklace, bracelet and earrings in Freshadamas! But I am sucker for the hard, metallic look. Shoot, some people can't even tell the difference at all!

My problem with pearls is that there is NO standardization in grading them! Super frustrating! I think that's why freshwaters are a bit more prevalent... you know you are getting solid-nacre pearls and hopefully the luster is as pictured. The Chinese are getting better and better at getting freshwater pearls as round as possible, so I think in a few years most people will prefer the less-expensive freshwaters, especially if they can get that metallic look of Akoyas (I am anxiously waiting for the day!). Round, metallic freshwaters... ahhhh! I've only seen off-round metallic freshies.

I haven't seen anything to suggest that akoyas are harder to find... there are lots of websites out there that sell them. But buyer beware! I looked at one company and couldn't find ANY reviews and they aren't part of the BBB and I questioned some of their pictures of low-to-high quality pearls (really dramatic). Also, most "akoyas" are Chinese now. The Japanese lost most of their akoya beds years ago. Even the Hanadamas I bought (and are certified in Japan) are most likely Chinese pearls purchased by Japan and "re-branded."

I really hope this helps! {#emotions_dlg.biggrin}

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