Everything You Need To Know About Freshwater Pearl Jewellery
Posted by Natalie Cochrane on 16th Mar 2023
Freshwater pearl jewellery has long been admired for its uniqueness, colour, lustre and quality. Whether it's a freshwater baroque pearl necklace or a pair of earrings, freshwater pearls have become a jewellery box essential. But how much do you know about freshwater pearl jewellery? Where do freshwater pearls come from? What is the best way to tell if freshwater pearls are real? Read onto discover everything you need to know about the world of freshwater pearl jewellery.
What Are Freshwater Pearls?
Freshwater pearls are as the same suggests, pearls which come from mussels that live in freshwater lakes and rivers, rather than saltwater oysters. They are grown in lakes, rivers and other freshwater environments around the world including the United States, Europe and China. Freshwater pearls are generally smaller than saltwater pearls. Freshwater pearls are also admired for their durability making them a popular option in jewellery.
Where Do Freshwater Pearls Come From?
Freshwater pearls are formed by certain species of mollusks, mainly oysters and mussels, in freshwater environments. The pearl forms when an irritant such as a grain of sand or a parasite enters their shell. The mollusk secrets a substance called nacre which coats the irritant over time, eventually forming a pearl. Depending on the species of mollusk, this can form pearls of different sizes, shapes and colours. Pearls can be found in many parts of the world including Japan, China, Australia, the Philippines and French Polynesia.
How To Tell If Pearls Are Real
The best way to know if a freshwater pearl is real is to understand the features that make up a genuine pearl. An easy way to tell if a pearl is real is the 'tooth test'. Simply rub the pearl against your tooth gently. If the pearl is real, the surface of the pearl will feel gritty. If the pearl is an imitation, the surface will feel smooth.
Another way to tell if a pearl is real is by feeling it. When you hold a real pearl, it usually feels cool initially and warms up when it is being worn. A fake pearl feels warm to touch.
If you are still unsure if you pearl is real or an imitation of the gem, take it to a reputable jeweller who will be able to tell whether a pearl is real by looking at it under a magnifying glass. Real pearls have a unique lustre that is created by the layering of the nacre. Fake pearls have a uniform and often artificial sheen.
The best way to ensure that your pearls are real is to purchase them from a trusted retailer. At Lily Blanche, we only use real freshwater, cultured pearls in our jewellery from a sustainable source. Our freshwater pearl necklaces and earrings feature real pearls renowned for their lustre and luminosity.
What Are Cultured Pearls?
Cultured pearls are pearls which are intentionally grown and harvested in a controlled environment, as opposed to being formed naturally in the wild. Cultured pearls are created by inserting a small bead or piece of tissue into the mantle of a mollusk. The mollusk will start to secrete layers of nacre surrounding the bead or tissue to form the pearl.
There are four main types of cultured pearls:
Akoya pearls - these types of pearls are commonly used in single strand necklaces. Akoya pearls are saltwater cultured pearls which are mainly produced in Japan and China.
South Sea Cultured Pearls - these pearls are saltwater cultured pearls mainly sourced from Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. South Sea pearls can be white/silver or golden.
Tahitian Cultured Pearls - these pearls are cultured mainly around the islands of French Polynesia. These saltwater pearls are sometimes known as black pearls however, they also come in a wide range of colours such as grey, black, or brown.
Freshwater Cultured Pearls - these type of pearls are found in freshwater lakes and ponds. Freshwater pearls are often used to make beautiful pearl necklaces and earrings.
Are Freshwater Cultured Pearls Real?
Although freshwater cultured pearls are not formed naturally in the wild, they are still considered to be real pearls because they are made of the same organic material as naturally-occurring pearls.
What Do Pearls Symbolise?
Pearls have long been admired for their timelessness, individuality and wide array of colours. Pearls are also highly prized for their symbolism. In many cultures, pearls represent purity, wisdom and innocence. In the Western world, pearls are seen as a symbol of status and wealth. The beautiful gem is associated with elegance, refinement and sophistication.
What Colour Are Pearls?
Pearls come in a wide array of colours. The most common colours are the traditional white and cream. However, black, grey and silver are also commonly seen in pearl jewellery. The main colour of the pearl is usually changed by additional colours, known as overtones, which can be pink, green, purple or blue.
How Much Are Freshwater Pearls Worth?
Freshwater pearls are valuable as they are real pearls. Their value depends on the size, colour and shape of the pearl. A wild pearl will be worth more than a cultured pearl as they are more rare. Freshwater pearls hold their value well especially if they are high quality. If you invest in pearl jewellery, you will be able to own one of earth's most beautiful gemstones that can be passed down the generations.
How To Clean Pearls
Like any jewellery, pearls need to be looked after. Pearls are porous and must be cleaned using a dry soft cloth to enhance their natural lustre. Do not immerse pearls in water. We also recommend ensuring that your freshwater pearls do not come into contact with any chemicals such as cosmetics, perfumes or hairspray as these can damage pearls. The best advice is to put your pearls on last, after you have applied perfume and cosmetics. It's also best to keep your pearls in their own box or soft jewellery pouch to keep them from becoming damaged.
Discover Freshwater Pearl Jewellery
At Lily Blanche, we only use real cultured freshwater pearls in our jewellery. From freshwater baroque pearl necklaces to freshwater pearl earrings, there's a pearl to suit everyone's style. Our pearls are renowned for their lustre and luminosity making them perfect to pass down the generations. Discover our collection of freshwater pearl jewellery