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Sweetwater Pearls

I am curious about what a sweetwater pearl is. I handle freshwater
pearls of all kinds and have read everything I can get my hands on
about pearls. I do not remember reading anything about sweetwater
pearls, even in Fred Ward’s book on the subject. So, here are my

  1. Is this a really different breed of pearl or is it someone’s brand

  2. What distinguishes it from other pearls.

  3. What oyster/muscle produces it.

  4. What color ranges (natural) does it come in.

  5. Where is it found or is farmed.

  6. What price range does it fall in.

  7. Where can I get some.

  8. Basically anything anyone can tell me about them will be

Many thanks in advance for help on this, Suzanne

Pearl do occure very rarely in sweetwater, like a river or creek, I
think this is what they mean, although freshwater is the same thing
but a man made lake? So? who knows!


Hi Suzanne,

I have heard the mussel fishermen along the Mississippi in Western
Illinois refer to freshwater pearls as ‘sweetwater pearls’, also I
have some friends in Tennessee who call freshwater pearls ‘sweetwater
pearls’ and they live right down where the culture them. I hope that
this helps.


Skip Meister
Orchid Jewelry Listserve Member
A day without sunshine is like night!
N.R.A. Endowment

Hello Suzanne,

Wow,you’ve got more questions the I have answers about pearls !!!
However,I tell you what I know about them.

Sweet water or fresh water pearls are exactly the same,another
misleading name I guess, trowen out by some people who wanted to
start a new bussines.They are more irrigular in shape then the
saltwater pearls

answer 1.The above mentioned text already clearifys this question.

answer 2.The differents between saltwater and sweet water is next.
Pearls (sweet and salt)are build up by tinny Calciumcarbonate
crystals and some organic substancy called “Conchiolyn”(binding
agency). Salt water pearls are in there modification calcite. Sweet
water pearls instead are in there modification Aragonite.

answer 3.Commonly pearls are found in moysters and some (??)
snails(conch,osmena,abalone). The commonly used moysters are"Pinctada
maxima moyster", “Pinctada fucata martensii”,"Pictada margaritifera"
and some more .

answer 4.Sweetwater pearls are found in a varity of colors with or
without a nice luster.starting from white,pinkish-white,pink and all
the way up to grey even blue.

answer 5.You got me on this one.There are farms all over the world
and for sure some welknown in America which I can’t recall right at
this moment.

answer 6.Prices about fresh or sweetwater pearls are far not that
expensive as the salt water pearls are.Although,abalone pearls may go
up to 15,000 US$ for collectors items.The regular sweetwater pearls
start from a few dollars up to 30 US$.

answer 7.Sources to buy from are Oriental Crest(
and Rio Grande has a small collection aswell (

Hope that I cleared some questions about the sweet water pearls.

Regards Pedro

Suzanne, Sweetwater pearls are the same as freshwater. If you want
more see the January 8 edition of the Smithsonian
magazine, page 65, “To Reporduce, Mussels Go Fishing - The Evolution
of this freshwater pearl-maker reaches its apex in our Southeastern
rivers. A very interesting and informative article. Further to the
article, the American Pearl Company in TN has been producing
"sweetwater pearls” since sometime in the 1980’s. I have a number of
them. Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio where simple
elegence IS fine jewelry!

Suzanne and All, Please note that the Smithsonian edition I mentioned
should be January 1998, not January 8. Cheers, Don at The Charles
Belle Studio where simple elegance IS fine jewelry!