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Freshwater Akoya Pearls

Lisa Loves Shiny

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The Chinese Freshwater pearls seems to be getting better and better. This last year I have seen Chinese vendors list "Freshwater Akoya Pearls". To some this was thought as misleading because Akoyas are salt water pearls. So from the website of Kong's pearls I am listing the explanation of how the term "Freshwater Akoya Pearl" has come about for anyone interested and a picture of the new freshwater Akoya pearls. I am not promoting them as I have not knowingly bought any yet and do not know what type of processing they undergo. But they are IMHO beautiful. Your thoughts?

"Fresh Water Cultured Akoya Loose Pearl for sale! Today I'm about to introduce the Chinese Freshwater Cultured Akoya Pearls to you!!!
It is a totally brand new way to culture pearls! We import Japanese Akoya Pearl oyester and culture them in lakes.
Let's make a comparison of Japanese Akoya pearls, edison pearls, Freshwater Akoya Pearls.
The common ground is that all of them belong to nucleated pearls. They have nuclear on the inside.
Japanese Akoya pearls grow up in seawater . Edison pearls and Freshwater Akoya pearls grow up in lakes and rivers.
Japanese akoya pearls and Freshwater Akoya Pearls grow up in the same kind of pearl oyster, while edison pearls grow up in fresh water pearl oyster.

Freshwater Akoya pearls have amazing luster, basically as strong as Japanese akoya pearls. Very nice luster as well. But the price is very much
more affordable than Japanese akoya pearls."

il_794xN.2311808430_bvf9.jpg
 

Pearlescence

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It may be the translation but an akoya saltwater oyster would not survive in freshwater. Like all molluscs they are incredibly ready to die off - the reduction in salinity of the water (mix of direct and indirect freshwater into the sea) from a very heavy storm can kill them
They cannot live in freshwater any more than a cod could live in the local duck pond.
There are some bead nucleated smaller pearls which are very shiny about. But my industry sources said they were very very processed. They looked fabulous but the word was that the extreme processing would not last - remember purple fade?
 

Lisa Loves Shiny

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It's interesting. They are using an imported oyster for these pearls. Is is a hybrid? Different all together and just related to the Akoya oyster? Or being grown in saline ponds that they are calling lakes? I know they keep these things pretty secret so finding any information on these "freshwater Akoya pearls" was unexpected, even if it leaves me with more questions.

I don't know about the purple fade. I have seen it mentioned. Haven't noticed any fade in my purple Edison pearls.
 

Snowdrop13

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I agree.
Perhaps they are calling very round freshwater pearls "freshwater akoya" because the look so much like akoya pearls.
A marketing tactic?

Maybe also because they are bead nucleated, round and mostly smaller sizes??
 

yssie

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Huh. There’s a lot here that I’m not understanding!

Are they saying that they graft donor pinctada fucata mantle and shell bead into a host pinctada fucata, and somehow the host survives in freshwater?

Are they saying that they graft donor pinctada fucata tissue and shell bead into a host freshwater mussel? A single bead? Multiples!?

The akoya oyster can be implanted with only one bead at a time as far as I know - if they’re using akoya oyster hosts I can’t imagine why the resulting “freshwater akoya” pearls would be any cheaper, even if they figure out how to keep them alive in freshwater... But that’s certainly what this blurb is saying!
Japanese akoya pearls and Freshwater Akoya Pearls grow up in the same kind of pearl oyster [...]

Thanks for sharing @Lisa Loves Shiny. Curiouser and curiouser!
 
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Pearlescence

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I had a quick search on ebay for freshwater akoya and turned up this

8-9MM Real Natural Pink Akoya freshwater Pearl necklace earrings Jewelry set 18".​

The pearls were low end oval orange freshwaters

Long 130" 7-8mm Black Akoya freshwater Cultured Pearl Necklace​

Oval black FW
another

Genuine Natural 7-8mm Black Akoya Freshwater Pearl Necklace 18"AAA​

So these are also natural pearls!

There were hundreds. They seem to be using akoya as a random adjective to make freshwaters sound better.
I'm pretty sure that these are the well processed 8 and 9mm bead nucleated white pearls I saw in HK last March.
(Purple fade is a phenomenon whereby some natural purple pearls suffer a fading of colour over time - due to over rigorous processing. Some do and some don't. Sometimes a whole strand will fade, sometimes none will and sometimes only some. It's reputable to hold onto purples for a few months)
 
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seaurchin

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I wouldn't pay much attention to anything like this unless I read it from a respected source like the GIA, not on a Chinese pearl vendor site. They constantly try to pass off cheaper freshwater pearls as more expensive saltwater pearls. This just looks like more of the same typical BS to me.
 

Snowdrop13

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Even Wen Pearls are at it!

 

Lisa Loves Shiny

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Well guess what? I just checked and I ordered a similar strand of these so called freshwater Akoya pearls from this vendor several weeks ago. Won’t be here until next month. Will check in when they arrive and post a report.

Hi @oceanblue. We are so fortunate that you joined this discussion and will post your thoughts on your new pearls. :)
 

Lisa Loves Shiny

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Even Wen Pearls are at it!


American vendors too.

 

Snowdrop13

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Daisys and Diamonds

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I keep thinking about the poor molusk trying to survive in freshwater
I read an article about global warming that talked about increasing glacial melt causing sea water in Fiordland to become less saline and its possible effects on dolphins - and a dolphin is a lot bigger than an oyster

Ill be happy to hear this is not the case with whatever mollosk makes this pearl
 

oceanblue

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Daisy, I hate to break it to you but all the Molusks that are earmarked for pearl making are, well um, slaves for the jewelry industry regardless of the water they are kept in.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

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My AAA Freshwater Akoya Pearls arrived today. It is night here so I will hopefully take pictures tomorrow. They look really nice. Will do comparisons with real akoyas and a freshwater pearl "chain" that I bought from another suggested vendor.

Looking forward to tomorrow
 

pearlsngems

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I'm looking the matter of salinity in The Pearl Oyster by Paul C. Southgate and John S. Lucas.

On p. 204 it states,
" Salinities for good survival of adult Akoya are ca. > 18%....
Nucleate Akoya are less tolerant of low salinity than normal pearl oysters 2 months after the nucleus is inserted....
There was 37% and 70% mortality of normal and nucleated pearl oysters, respectively, after 36 hours in 9.5% salinity...."

I think this puts to rest the idea that Akoyas can survive in fresh water. They have to be in salt water, of certain levels of salinity, or they die.

I think we can assume that the Chinese have developed their technology and are implanting smaller nuclei into FWP. The result appears to be smaller Edison-type pearls.
 

Lisa Loves Shiny

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I'm looking the matter of salinity in The Pearl Oyster by Paul C. Southgate and John S. Lucas.

On p. 204 it states,
" Salinities for good survival of adult Akoya are ca. > 18%....
Nucleate Akoya are less tolerant of low salinity than normal pearl oysters 2 months after the nucleus is inserted....
There was 37% and 70% mortality of normal and nucleated pearl oysters, respectively, after 36 hours in 9.5% salinity...."

I think this puts to rest the idea that Akoyas can survive in fresh water. They have to be in salt water, of certain levels of salinity, or they die.

I think we can assume that the Chinese have developed their technology and are implanting smaller nuclei into FWP. The result appears to be smaller Edison-type pearls.

I agree- I also they are using a freshwater mussel. I just wonder if they are using a newer, hybrid mussel and calling it FW akoya. I have only been collecting for a couple years and think it is fascinating how FW pearls keep evolving so quickly. Thank you for your experienced and thoughtful reply to this thread.
 

pearlsngems

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Edisons pearls come from a hybrid mussel. Back when the Chinese began producing flameball pearls, they crossed the mussel that was commonly used for producing those very common FWP (Triangle shell mussel, or Hyriopsis cumingii) with the Biwa mussel from Japan. (Hyriopsis schlegelii). I expect it is this same hybrid that is now being nucleated with smaller nuclei.

What I am wondering is how many of these small nuclei are being implanted at the same time in the gonad? Being able to implant more nuclei at a time keeps the cost down.
 

Pearlescence

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It is far more likely to be hyperbole of flawed description than some inter species cross. I saw some very shiny freshwater bead nucleated pearls last year in HK from one company. Rumour was that there was a lot of processing and people sucked their teeth at how durable the surface quality might be
 

dk168

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Even Wen Pearls are at it!


Ooo, I have not noticed that as I am not in the market for small round white pearls.

DK :))
 

oceanblue

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Sorry for the delay! Here are my freshwater Akoya's from Wen next to a freshwater "chain" from Kojima. The "akoyas" are the bigger pearl strand. Under a loupe they look pinkish (but not every single one). Maybe these are what other vendors call "gem grade" freshwater pearls. They definitely are rounder and more lustrous than the chain.

Up thread someone suggested that they are excessively processed. What could they add to bleaching, polishing and pinking/coloring that the real akoyas undergo? IMG_1687.jpg ?


IMG_1688.jpg
 

MakingTheGrade

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I got a strand of those from Wen too! Definitely better than other fw pearls. Not quite akoya level. Here’s a photo the wen (whiter strand) next to akoya.

804428
 

MakingTheGrade

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Very similar description but larger size and near round
 

Lisa Loves Shiny

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Sorry for the delay! Here are my freshwater Akoya's from Wen next to a freshwater "chain" from Kojima. The "akoyas" are the bigger pearl strand. Under a loupe they look pinkish (but not every single one). Maybe these are what other vendors call "gem grade" freshwater pearls. They definitely are rounder and more lustrous than the chain.

Up thread someone suggested that they are excessively processed. What could they add to bleaching, polishing and pinking/coloring that the real akoyas undergo? IMG_1687.jpg ?


IMG_1688.jpg

Those do have great luster- very pretty. Thank you for the comparison. What are your plans for them?
 
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