Dana’s Fine Jewelry in Downtown Newton, NC carries cultured and freshwater pearls, in many colors as well. We have pearl sets, pearl necklaces, pearl earrings, pearl wedding jewelry, and pearl bracelets. See Pearls Inventory to see our variety.
A little more about pearls……
All pearls cultivated in freshwater are called freshwater pearls. A significant proportion of them are cultivated in China but, if you were so inclined, you could cultivate them in a freshwater pond in you own back yard .
Pearls cultivated in saltwater fall into the categories of Akoya named for the Japanese oyster and cultivated in Japan and China, South Sea, cultivated in the South Pacific waters, and Tahitian cultivated in waters around French Polynesia.
Freshwater pearls range in size fro 4MM to 12MM. Akoya pearls range from 3MM to 9 MM. South Sea range from 9Mm to 15Mm and Tahitian pearls range from 8Mm to 14Mm. The size ranges I am giving are the average size. Larger pearls have been cultivated in freshwater and saltwater pearls.
A pearl is a hard object produced within the soft tissue (specifically the mantle) of a living shelled mollusk. Just like the shell of a mollusk, a pearl is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in concentric layers. The ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth, but many other shapes of pearls (baroque pearls) occur. The finest quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries, and because of this, the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable.
The most valuable pearls occur spontaneously in the wild, but they are extremely rare. Cultured or farmed pearls from pearl oysters make up the majority of those that are currently sold. Pearls from the sea are valued more highly than freshwater pearls. Imitation or fake pearls are also widely sold in inexpensive jewelry, but the quality of their iridescence is usually very poor, and generally speaking, artificial pearls are easily distinguished from genuine pearls. Pearls have been harvested and cultivated primarily for use in jewelry, but in the past they were also stitched onto lavish clothing. Pearls have also been crushed and used in cosmetics, medicines, and in paint formulations.
Pearls that are considered to be of gemstone quality are almost always nacreous and iridescent, wild or cultured, like the interior of the shell that produces them. However, almost all species of shelled mollusks are capable of producing pearls (formerly referred to as “calcareous concretions” by some sources) of lesser shine or less spherical shape. Although these may also be legitimately referred to as “pearls” by gemological labs and also under U.S. Federal Trade Commission rules, and are formed in the same way, most of them have no value, except as curios.
In 1914, pearl farmers began growing cultured freshwater pearls using the pearl mussels native to Lake Biwa. This lake, the largest and most ancient in Japan, lies near the city of Kyoto. The extensive and successful use of the Biwa Pearl Mussel is reflected in the name Biwa pearls, a phrase which was at one time nearly synonymous with freshwater pearls in general. Since the time of peak production in 1971, when Biwa pearl farmers produced six tons of cultured pearls, pollution has caused the virtual extinction of the industry. Japanese pearl farmers recently cultured a hybrid pearl mussel – a cross between Biwa Pearl Mussels and a closely related species from China, Hyriopsis cumingi, in Lake Kasumigaura. This industry has also nearly ceased production, due to pollution.
Japanese pearl producers also invested in producing cultured pearls with freshwater mussels in the region of Shanghai, China. China has since become the world’s largest producer of freshwater pearls, producing more than 1,500 metric tons per year (in addition to metric measurements, Japanese units of measurement such as the kan and momme are sometimes encountered in the pearl industry).