Insights into pearls

Freshwater vs. Saltwater Akoya Pearls: A Complete Comparison

Akoya pearls are treasured for their bright luster and delicate beauty. But did you know there are both freshwater and saltwater varieties? Read on as we dive into all the differences between these two types of Akoya pearls.


  • Freshwater Akoya are cultivated in China.
  • Saltwater Akoya originate from Japan and are grown in the sea.

Culturing process:

  • Freshwater Akoyas are nucleated pearls grown in Hyriopsis Cumingii mussels.
  • Saltwater Akoya pearls are produced by Pinctada fucata martensii oysters.

Common sizes:

  • Freshwater Akoya range from 2-10mm, usually 5-8mm.
  • Saltwater Akoya are typically larger from 6-11mm.


  • Freshwater Akoya come in white, orange, and purple hues.
  • Saltwater Akoya are dominantly white to pinkish.


  • Freshwater Akoya have a thick nacre so shine is soft and subtle.
  • Saltwater Akoya have a superior mirror-like luster and shine.


  • Saltwater Akoya last longer and resist yellowing better.
  • Freshwater Akoya are still durable but may yellow slightly over time.

Nacre thickness:

  • Freshwater Akoya have thicker nacre at about 3mm for a 6mm pearl.
  • Saltwater Akoya have very thin 0.3mm nacre for a 6mm pearl.


  • For similar quality, freshwater Akoya cost only 1/5 to 1/3 of the saltwater price.

 Choose freshwater Akoya for affordable elegance, and saltwater Akoya for top luster and durability. Let your budget and needs guide you!



Hello, my name is Yang. I'm from China. I'm a freshwater pearl farmer who wants to share more of these beautiful gems with people worldwide. I grew up learning my family's time-honored cultivation methods. Now I supply high-quality freshwater pearls and pearl jewelry. Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to learn more about my pearls. I look forward to connecting with fellow pearl enthusiasts!

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