Pearls are making waves in all new ways with the latest trends in nucleated freshwater cultured pearls. This has been going on primarily in China and the surrounding areas, with massive improvements in the quality of the pearls, as well as a sudden growing interest in pearls of different colors.
Though many people still think of the commercial production of freshwater pearls as the way it was in China in the 1970s – when there began an enormous influx of tiny oblong-shaped pearls that sold extremely cheaply – a lot has happened since that time. Even in the 70’s, it was believed that one day the technology would arrive to develop larger, rounder, higher quality nucleated freshwater pearls. They were not wrong.
Today, China’s nucleated freshwater pearls are becoming an intimidating competition to the traditional Akoya cultured pearl – especially because of the ability to produce them in abundance, with low production costs which lead to lower prices to the consumer. In fact, it has been reported that in 2004, over 1 ton of nucleated Chinese freshwater pearls were produced by the Guangdong Shaohe Pearl Company Ltd of the Guangdong province, a leader in the nucleated freshwater pearl farming industry. Forty percent of these pearls were round in shape, leaving only sixty percent of the more traditional flat, mabe, and other variously shaped pearls. These round pearls were reportedly of fine quality, and were sold to respected pearl dealers. It is expected that 2005’s final count of these new higher quality nucleated freshwater pearls will also beat the 1 ton mark.
Beyond finer shape, size, and overall quality, there is a wide range of colors available to consumers. Nucleated freshwater pearls have become extremely and increasingly popular in pink, lavender, peach, apricot, and beige, in addition to the more classical white.
To top this all off, the thick nacre of China’s current freshwater pearl nucleating technologies allows them to be much more durable.
This is good news to the many consumers out there who have recently reinstated their interest in pearls. After a lag in the market, causing several years of price fluctuations, freshwater pearls are experiencing a rebound never before encountered. In fact, the demand has been so high that prices rose between fifteen and thirty percent in 2004, though it is anticipated that they will level off for the remainder of 2005. The upward sales trend is expected to continue; particularly in the medium and higher quality freshwater pearls, which people are now ready to pay for. However, the highest quality nucleated freshwater pearls remain in limited supply.
Most pearl farmers aren’t worried, though, since with this added interest in nucleated freshwater pearls, cultivation techniques have upgraded substantially. It is anticipated that round, high-quality nucleated freshwater pearls will soon become available in much larger quantities; ready to provide for today’s increasing interest and demand.