FREE SHIPPING & FREE RETURNS | 1st CLASS USPS for orders $100+ in the US.

Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater Pearls have a lusterous appearance and cool beauty which has made them a favorite among jewelry designers and gem enthusiasts throughout history.  These Pearls are cultured within freshwater mussels through a process known as grafting and the time to create a 5mm pearl body may take anywhere from 3 to 5 years.  Having developed & farmed the first freshwater pearls within Lake Biwa, the Chinese have provided the majority of freshwater pearls on the market today.

Our pearl beads at the Bead Traders are bought in volume, so we can offer the best beads and always affordable beads online. Let our friendly and knowledgeable staff assist you in finding all of your beading supply needs.

History of Cultured Freshwater Pearls

At one time, Scotland was famous for freshwater pearl necklaces, but the Holarctic  of mussels that produced them are almost extinct. Japan was the first country to cultivate  freshwater pearls, but the species of mussel they were using began to die off. There were attempts to reinvigorate the industry using other mussel hybrids. In the United States, John Latendresse began to produce pearls  in Tennessee for a time, but all that remains of that venture is a tourist attraction. China currently has a corner on the market. They originally used the cockscomb pearl mussel (Cristaria plicata), which produced large numbers of small, low quality pearls often referred to as “Rice Krispie Pearls.” About ten years ago, the Chinese pearl producers began using the triangle shell mussel (Hyriopsis cumingii), a species that produces fewer pearls but of much better quality.

Pearl Farming

At a freshwater pearl farm, the mussels are grafted, or surgically implanted with pearl-producing mantle tissue. The mussel forms a sac at each graft point and the cells in this area begin to secrete nacre, a calcium carbonate compound that builds up over time to produce a pearl.  Each mussel produced 24 to 32 pearls, and it takes 6 or 7 years for the pearls to be ready to harvest.

Processing the Pearls

Freshwater pearls are usually purchased as a lot before they are harvested. After harvest, the pearls are cleaned and sorted and separated by size and shape. Then they are shipped to a factory where they are treated in warm and cold chemical baths in preparation for dyeing or bleaching. Finally, the pearls are drilled and polished and strung onto strands. The strands are matched into groups of 5 to 10 known as hanks, which are then ready for shipping.

Sizes, Shapes and Colors

Freshwater pearls are famous for their whimsical shapes and their beautiful colors. They are available in many shapes, including potato (almost round), coin, oval, button, biwa (stick), baroque, oval, square, round, rice and melon seed or pear shape. Some freshwater pearls are naturally colored pastels, but they can also be dyed beautiful colors like red, salmon, peacock, lavender, purple, blue, green and various metallics. Copper  freshwater pearls look particularly striking when strung with large, chunky nuggets  of  earthy jasper or chrysoprase. Pale pink pearls together with red garnets or  dark pink rhondonite would make beautiful freshwater pearl necklaces.

Best Value

We at the Bead Traders know the bead business and quality, and after ten years as an online bead seller, we definitely know value. We pledge to provide you with the best beads available while saving you money. Let the Bead Traders stock you up on freshwater pearls and other bead-making supplies.

The Bead Traders – Freshwater Pearls

We Value Quality over Quantity

At The Bead Traders, our customers are always a top priority. So we ensure that even our discount bead strands meet the highest quality standards. We believe in bringing you high-end products without breaking your budget, so you can remain confident that all our products have undergone rigorous inspection for your satisfaction. Our Value Pledge - to provide only the best for our customers, regardless of the price point!


Our freshwater pearls for sale are available in a beautiful range of accent colors to make your next creation a masterpiece. From delicate pinks to vibrant blues, our collection of freshwater pearls is the perfect addition to any design. 

Our freshwater pearls for jewelry making offer unmatched beauty and luster and come in different shapes and sizes. The natural texture of each pearl showcases a stunning sheen when set, making them the ideal choice for one-of-a-kind creations that truly allure.


Most of our freshwater pearls are typically cultivated on farms, but we also collect pearls that form in the wild in freshwater pearl-forming mollusks. Those collected from the wild are unique and will surely add an extra element of beauty to any completed design.

Shop from The Bead Traders! – We assure you that our affordable pearls are the best value freshwater pearls online. We offer you massive savings on freshwater pearls as we buy them in large volumes.

Whether it’s a project or a jewelry idea, our inventory of freshwater pearls is one of the largest and most versatile in the industry. We have more than 130 varieties of Baroque Freshwater Pearls alone.

Speak to our knowledgeable representatives for freshwater pearls wholesale deals, and we can assist you in navigating our massive inventory and getting the best price.

Our commitment to providing amazing quality pearls and our unmatched customer service make us an obvious choice when investing in your bead-crafting projects. 


Freshwater Pearls – Here’s a Drop of Pure Elegance for You

Visit The Bead Traders - leading the industry with unparalleled quality and the lowest prices. 

  • Quality beading supplies at affordable prices
  • Extensive, hand-chosen inventory
  • Attentive, accurate customer service
  • Convenient and reliable shipping 

Net Orders Checkout

Item Price Qty Total
Subtotal $0.00

Shipping Address

Shipping Methods