Pearl is always a favourite gem of every woman and Biwa pearl is not an exception to that. In order to create a different type of pearl, a specific oyster or mussel may be needed. Each of these pearls has their own characteristics and appearance.
Biwa pearls are having an unusual shape. Also, they are cultured pearls which come from freshwater mussels which are found in Lake Biwa in Japan. They are available in the market since 1930 and usually are the choice of those who cannot afford natural or cultured saltwater pearls.
History about Biwa pearls
Japanese called Mikimoto who was the first person who invented the procedure of culturing these freshwater pearls after doing plenty of experiments along with his other associates at the lake Biwa in 1920. This large lake is located near Kyoto.
Biwa pearls were also created of many different colours which were not available earlier and it was possible to do mass production of such pearls. The technicians quickly learned how to create a number of pearls by harvesting them on the mussels. This has also helped making pearls more affordable as compared to before.
By the year 1950, Biwa pearls were available in many varieties and colours. They became so successful that nearly all other freshwater pearls were termed as Biwa pearls.
Nowadays, unfortunately production of Biwa pearls has slowed down due to pollution and overfishing expedition. Also, due to tough competition from China, farmers of Biwa lake have gone out of business now.
Biwa pearl beads of today
All freshwater pearls in fact were known as Biwa pearls. Also, even today, various so-called “Biwa” pearls that we can see actually are cultured in China. After that they are sold from Japan.
However, in the USA, Biwa pearl beads will be available which are actually from the Lake Biwa. That is because cultured pearls that are originating from Japan’s Lake Biwa are scarcer variety and also more valuable as compared to freshwater pearls cultured from elsewhere.
In the USA the US Federal Trade Commission will consider calling all other freshwater pearls as “Biwa pearls”, unfair trade practice in case if they were not cultured in the Lake Biwa.