Freshwater pearls are also known as Biwa pearls as they originated from Lake Biwa in Japan. These days, however, freshwater pearls are mostly cultured in China.
There are four different types of pearls: Akoya, Freshwater, South Sea and Tahitian. Each pearl type is unique with the color, size and shape.
Akoya pearls tend the most popular as they are very uniform and are usually the same round shape and size so are ideal for necklaces. They are cultured from saltwater mollusks from Japan and China. Akoya pearls are popular for their luster and beauty.
Freshwater pearls on the other hand are made with cultured freshwater pearls mostly from China and made in a freshwater mollusk in a lake, pond or river. They are similar in look to the Akoya pearls, but are less expensive as they are usually smaller and less symmetrical.
Southsea pearls are the larger pearls that come in a range of light colors. Southsea pearls are harder to cultivate and therefore more expensive.
Black Tahitian pearls are darker and larger. They come from the South Seas, such as Tahiti.
Freshwater pearls are ideal if one is on a budget as they are less expensive. They are not so round and are smaller than the Akoya so not so suitable for necklaces but certainly fine for rings, pendants and broaches etc.
When buying pearls always ensure you get a certificate to show the type of pearl and the value. It is often a good idea to get an independent appraisal of the pearl(s) also for insurance purposes.
Freshwater pearls can look quite delightful when in the right kind of jewelry and suit the individual.