• Become a Pearl Insider!

    Register as a member today for exclusive access to, member only insider info, incredible contests to exotic locations, and have your questions answered by pearl experts from around the world.

    Join the community today. Just click Register at the top!

Freshwater versus Akoya? Which to buy?



Hi, I hear a lot of talk about akoya saltwater pearls and how beautiful they are, especially mikimoto. I have also heard that these days very good freshwater pearls are nearly as quality as the akoya pearls. I don't want to spend too much but I want a good strand of round pearls. I would not want to spend more than $250. Some web sites such as americanpearl.com have a strand of akoya pearls for $250. But I might be able to get really really good strand of freshwater pearls for this price. Pearl experts and lovers whats your opinion???


Well-known member
Aug 12, 2004

You are correct in that the quality of available freshwater pearls has jumped tremendously in the last few years. The top percentage of freshwater pearls easily rivals the aesthetic beauty of akoya pearls. The value will not be the same, however. The best way I can describe this is with gold. 10k gold is considered gold just as 22k gold is. If you make a beautiful piece of jewelry of 10k gold and another of 22k gold the 22k will always be more valuable.
For $250 you can get a very high-quality (AA or better) strand of Akoya pearls in the 7mm range. If you were to spend an equal amount on freshwater pearls you can get a high-quality strand in the 9mm range. A top-quality (perfect round, clean, bright luster) strand of freshwater pearls in the 7-8mm range can be purchased for much less than $250.
So with freshwater pearls you can indeed get more pearl for your money, but with akoya pearls you will typically get more value for your money.


Although the quality of Freshwater pearls has really increased over the last couple of years, high quality Akoya pearls are still going to be inherently more valuable than Freshwaters no matter if they are perfectly round. You can purchase high quality, perfectly round Akoya pearls for under $250 in a nice size if value, perfect round shape, and high luster is what you prefer.

When you have a budget, always choose quality over size!
Last edited by a moderator: