Freshwater pearls originated in the lakes around China. The Chinese people found that they could encourage mussels, like the saltwater pearls occur in oysters, to create these pearls quickly and in vast quantities. Natural pearls are formed by foreign material, whether it is sharp or a parasite enters the mussel and cannot be discharged. The mussel coats the object with the same secretion it uses for shell-building, nacre, to reduce the irritation. For cultured freshwater pearls, workers would slightly open the shell and place a live mantle tissue from another mussel into the slits; which in doing so creates nacre production for the mussel. Most freshwater pearls are entirely made of nacre, just like the natural freshwater pearls and the saltwater cousins. Due to culturing has allowed the prices to be more affordable, rather than the natural ways. The only main difference between the two, natural and cultured, is that they start not by chance, man deliberately intervenes with nature it place an irritant. Natural pearls are very rare to find, but can be very beautiful, however, due to overfishing, pollution and other factors makes them harder to find without too many imperfections.
Freshwater pearls originated in the lakes around China. The Chinese people found that they could encourage oysters to create pearls by cutting a small strip from the mantle of the oyster and inserting it into the oyster. The oyster then coats the strip with several layers of minerals and proteins. Adding layer on top of layer the oyster creates a pearl composed entirely of nacre. (This is where cultivated fresh water pearls differ from cultivated salt water pearls. Salt water pearls are created using a small bead to start it.)
The length of a pearl necklace has a lingo all its own. It is all dependent on how low a necklace hangs when being worn. For example, a classic collar necklace, single or multiple strands, does not hang down it simply touches the throat and measures anywhere from 10 to 13 inches. Next are the pearl chokers at 14-16 inches, the princess length around 17-19 inches, the matinee length is 20-24, the opera measures 28-35 inches and anything longer than the opera is considered a pearl rope.
History is marked with stories of the pearl.
Perhaps that's what makes it "Queen of the gems".
Without a doubt I could go on and on....(AnnOnandOn), but I don't want to overload you with too much info. If you would like to read more, My Freshwater Pearls has a wonderful page, "Pearl Education", that is worth the read.
While I enjoy a new pair of charming freshwater Pearl stud earrings I think it's only fair to share....one lucky reader will also receive a pair.