Catalog Index     Show Schedule     What's New Lists     Terms of Sale     Our Privacy Policy     Contact Us      View Cart    
Ammonites   Beads   Books   Cabochons   Cultured Crystals   Display   Faceted Gemstones   Geode Slices   Jewelry   Meteorites & Tektites   Mineral Specimens   Playing Cards   Septarian Nodules  
Bead Galleries:   Agate Beads   Amazonite Beads   Carnelian Beads   Fluorite Beads   Hematite Beads   Jasper Beads   Obsidian Beads   Onyx and Sardonyx Beads   Opal Beads   Pearl Beads   Pewter Beads   Pyrite Beads   Sodalite Beads   Tiger's Eye Beads   Turquoise Beads   Unakite Beads  

Strands of Cultured Freshwater Pearl Beads

'Triangle Shell' Freshwater Pearl Mussel Hyriopsis cumingii
Pearls are organically produced gemstones formed within the soft tissue of living shelled mollusks. Pearls are composed of concentric layers of nacre, aragonite (calcium carbonate) in minute crystalline form held together by conchiolin, an organic horn-like compound. Mollusks form pearls as a defense mechanism, secreting a protective coating of nacre around an irritating nucleus. The nucleus can be particles of organic or inorganic origin that enter while their shell valves are open for feeding or respiration and become embedded irritants to their mantle tissue.

"Natural" pearl production without human intervention is accidental and occurs very rarely. Wild pearls are generally small and irregular. Large and spherical wild pearls are extremely rare. Many hundreds of pearl oysters or pearl mussels have to be gathered, opened and killed to find even one wild pearl, which is why the highest quality natural pearls have historically commanded extraordinary prices.

The vast majority of pearls available today are "cultured" pearls produced by artificially nucleating mollusks grown and harvested on pearl farms. Both freshwater and saltwater mollusks are cultivated for pearls, freshwater pearls from various species of freshwater mussels indigenous to lakes, rivers, ponds and other bodies of fresh water, and saltwater pearls from pearl oysters indigenous to oceans.

Freshwater pearl farmers nucleate their mussels with small pieces of mantle tissue. The process involves cutting tissue from the mantle of a donor mussel into small pieces which are then inserted into incisions made in the mantle tissue of a 6 to 12 month old host mussel. Because the mantle tissue is large and located on either side of the shell, each mussel can withstand several dozens of insertions. The nucleated mussel is then tended and raised in a freshwater farm for 2 to 7 years before it is harvested for its pearls.

The large number of freshwater pearls produced per mussel accounts for some of the diminished value between cultured freshwater pearls and their cultured saltwater counterparts. However, because the mantle tissue is dissolved into the pearl-sac, cultured freshwater pearls are solid nacre, as opposed to cultured saltwater pearls which are typically nucleated with artificial beads over which the oyster deposits a relatively thin layer of nacre. Without an artificial bead nucleus to guide the growth process, cultured freshwater pearls are rarely perfectly round. Because they offer a wider diversity of colors, shapes, and sizes than any other type of pearl, freshwater pearls are often employed in fanciful designer jewelry.

Pearls are most commonly presented in jewelry as beads. The aragonite of which pearl nacre is composed is a soft (3-4 Mhos hardness) mineral with poor resistance to abrasion and chemical attack. Pearls are best reserved for necklaces, earrings, brooches or other jewelry that is spared the wear and tear to which ring and bracelet stones are inevitably subjected. Natural skin oils can help keep pearls lustrous, but acid in perspiration can attack and discolor nacre, as can chemicals in cosmetic products or chlorine in swimming pools. Store pearl jewelry apart from other pieces as pearls can be scratched by metals and harder stones. A separate soft cloth bag is ideal for individually protecting pearl pieces in your jewelry box. It is safest to clean pearls using warm distilled water, mild soap and a cloth or soft brush. Do not use an ultrasonic or steam cleaner and keep pearls out of contact with excessive heat, acids, ammonia and other chemical or abrasive cleaners.


BeadStrand82 - Cultured Freshwater Pearl Beads 8mm Potato - $14.35
    
Limited Stock: 17 Strands Available
BeadStrand82 - Cultured Freshwater Pearl Beads 8mm Potato Approximate Size: 8mm long x 7mm diameter. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.

Strand lengths are approximately 16 inches long and each strand contains approximately 62 beads.

Average strand weight approximately 31 grams.

Locality: China

These lustrous, natural white color potato shape freshwater pearls range from approximately 6.5-7.5mm on the drilled dimension and from approximately 7.5mm to 8.5mm in length.


BeadStrand83 - Cultured Freshwater Pearl Beads 5mm Potato - $12.95
    
Limited Stock: 10 Strands Available
BeadStrand83 - Cultured Freshwater Pearl Beads 5mm Potato Approximate Size: 5mm long x 4.5mm diameter. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.

Strand lengths are approximately 16 inches long and each strand contains approximately 88 beads.

Average strand weight approximately 15 grams.

Locality: China

These lustrous, natural white color potato shape freshwater pearls range from approximately 4.5-5.0mm on the drilled dimension and from approximately 5.0mm to 5.5mm in length.


BeadStrand84 - Cultured Freshwater Pearl Beads 6mm Tear Drop - $9.85
    
Limited Stock: 10 Strands Available
BeadStrand84 - Cultured Freshwater Pearl Beads 6mm Tear Drop Approximate Size: 6.0mm long x 4.5mm diameter. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.

Strand lengths are approximately 16 inches long and each strand contains approximately 70 beads.

Average strand weight approximately 12 grams.

Locality: China

Lustrous, natural pink color tear drop shape freshwater pearls.


BeadStrand85 - Cultured Freshwater Pearl Beads 5.5mm Rice - $9.85
    
Limited Stock: 17 Strands Available
BeadStrand85 - Cultured Freshwater Pearl Beads 5.5mm Rice Approximate Size: 5.5mm long x 4.0mm diameter. Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.

Strand lengths are approximately 16 inches long and each strand contains approximately 75 beads.

Average strand weight approximately 11 grams.

Locality: China

Lustrous, natural white color rice shape freshwater pearls.


BeadStrand86 - Cultured Freshwater Pearl Beads 7mm Nugget - $9.85
    
Limited Stock: 14 Strands Available
BeadStrand86 - Cultured Freshwater Pearl Beads 7mm Nugget Please note the image at left may be larger than life to help show the fine details.

Strand lengths are approximately 16 inches long and each strand contains approximately 80 beads.

Average strand weight approximately 18 grams.

Locality: China

These lustrous natural parti-color nugget shape freshwater pearls range in maximum dimension from approximately 6.5mm to 7.5mm. There is just about every natural color of freshwater pearls in these strands.

Ammonites   Beads   Books   Cabochons   Cultured Crystals   Display   Faceted Gemstones   Geode Slices   Jewelry   Meteorites & Tektites   Mineral Specimens   Playing Cards   Septarian Nodules  

All Images and Site Content Copyright 1995-2016 Cutting Rocks. All Rights Reserved.
OPAL Server