Defining & Determining Freshwater Pearl Quality!
Due to the uniquely unusual farming and production processes that now come into play, clearly setting "Freshwater Pearls" aside from the vast majority of their contemporary "sea water" grown counterparts, it takes a whole new perspective and set of specifically unique facts to accurately determine the quality and value of the freshwater pearls that you are seeking to purchase.
Therefore, here's a valuable list of the most important qualities, characteristics and considerations to keep in mind when purchasing your freshwater pearls:
The overall quality and character of a pearl's nacre is the primary factor in determining the value of the pearl. The nacre is what some might call the "body" of the pearl itself. It is the physically solid essence, the naturally organic, crystalline substance of which the pearl is made when creatively secreted by the pearl's proud parent, the prolific, pearl producing mollusk. The famous "Mother Of Pearl" effect is created by light passing through and over the nacre, creating a veritable rainbow of luminescent iridescence.
Nacre is that amazingly hard, naturally strong, surprisingly resilient ... and yet some how, remarkably light-weight & transparent elemental structure of the pearl. The thicker and more pure the nacre, the more solidly strong and beautiful the pearl is, as the nacre is the part of the pearl through which light shines, creating the pearls shimmering luster, so the integrity of the nacre plays a major role in determining the value and likelihood of the pearl surviving long enough to bring joy to people's lives for generations to come.
This can be quite tricky at times and is a perfect example of why you want to be sure to check a sellers GIA Certifications, because while it's true that you most definitely want as few blemishes or discolorations as naturally possible, it is simultaneously a definite "red flag" warning signal of potentially "poor nacre thickness" and possibly artificial processes and chemicals being used on pearls that exhibit absolutely "NO" flaws and blemishes.
If the complexion of the pearl that you're considering seems to be just a bit "too good to be true," then definitely be sure to check the GIA certification to ensure that your pearls haven't been artificially enhanced, color treated or coated with a man-made substance in order to look so "perfect!"
There is a dramatically wide spectrum and spectacularly diverse pallet of colors to be experienced within the chromatic range of the freshwater pearl. The farming and production process of freshwater pearls naturally lends itself to a much more controlled environment in which the pearls grow, so there are a vast number ways that the farmers can alter the pearl production to give them every color and hue from the deepest blues and purples to the most radiant variations of pinks and peaches to royal purples and lavenders and classic whites!
Amazing modern advances in freshwater pearl cultivation has led to pearl size increases that nearly boggle the mind while nearly doubling the size of these sweet water gems from what they were mere decades ago. Now, instead of very average 8mm freshwater pearl being harvested, we see giant pearls often as big as 15mm and even larger coming out of these new, healthy and strong "mussels with muscles!"
Smoothness of Surface
The world's finest quality, premium freshwater pearls will exhibit a near flawless, silky smooth surface without any disfiguring bumps, cracks, dings or blemishes observable by the naked eye. Yes, if you really want to, you can rub the pearls across your teeth for the "slippery slide" test but you probably would be wisest to simply ask to see the GIA Certification of the pearls before you pull your wallet out. Remember, when it comes to pearls, "if it seems 'too smooth' to be real, then it probably isn't."
Luster is the enlightening, effervescent, emanation effect created when light passes through the natural "nacre" of the pearl, reflecting back to the "eyes of the beholder" a fully spectacular spectrum of luminescence, viewed as a most magnificently glistening glow that seductively shimmers with a stimulating shine that surges like starlight in the unfathomably deep night sky.
While some people still prefer to stick to the classically tried and true traditions of the perfectly round or "Spherical" form, one of the truly spectacular aspects of freshwater pearls is the vast variety of uniquely uncommon, oddly original, one of a kind shapes that these gorgeously artistic gems come in.
So if simply "Symmetrical" is your thing, or your style preferences tend to still hold on and hang out within the realm of the relatively regular, then there are plenty of round pearls abounding all around.
However, if you have burning yearning for some eclectically original shapes, known in the jewelry world as being "Baroque," you can quite easily discover a wealth of marvelously mysterious shapes that are as distinctly singular and quite unique, as they are exclusively peerless and uncompromisingly individual in their nature, shape and style.
Shopping for freshwater pearls is a uniquely different kind of pearl adventure, so ask a lot of questions and if the dealer is not happy to answer all of your questions, won't explain things to you in simple, easy to understand terms and can't readily show you the pearl's GIA Certification, put your wallet away and go find a "Pearl Specialist" who focuses exclusively on pearls ... and nothing but pearls!