Within the pantheon of pearls, the one virtue that seems to set Freshwater pearls apart is their affordability. Any discussion on these pearls starts with their accessibility and reasonable prices. Nevertheless, there is more to these cultured pearls than the relatively small dent they make to your wallet.
From left to right: Black Freshwater Pearl Natalie Earrings, Pink Freshwater Baroque Pearl Pendant Necklace, White Freshwater Pearl Peyton Ring, Freshwater Multicolor Pearl Jasper Earrings, Peach Freshwater Pearl Gem-Quality Bracelet, Pearls of Joy
China is the largest producer of Freshwater pearls in the world and traditionally these pearls have been cultured in the ‘triangle mussel’ (Hyriopsis cumingii). The pearls this mussel produces come in the most charming natural pastel hues - pink, peach, lavender and white. Since these pearls are tissue-nucleated, they are solid nacre which adds to their durability. But what this all-nacre characteristic also does is to give these Freshwater pearls lovely overtones. The white pearls often have silver or rose overtones. Alternately, the pink, peach and lavender ones boast pale gold, light green, baby blue as well as powder pink overtones. These primary and secondary colors not only make Freshwater pearls beautiful, but they also lend a softness and romance to them.
In gem-quality metallic Freshwater pearls, the pastel colors combine with the sharp, mirror-like luster to create pearls of dazzling beauty. Necklace strands of metallic Freshwater pearls, in pinks and peaches with gold overtones or lavenders with shades of greens and blues skimming on their surfaces are much coveted by pearl lovers and collectors all over the world.
Not to be forgotten are Soufflé pearls, with their hollow center, large sizes and very organically baroque shapes. These Freshwater pearls display stunning colors and exceptional iridescence. With their almost-metallic body colors lit up by rainbow-like overtones, it is hard to imagine that there was a time when pearl farmers in China discarded them as unwanted by-products of pearl farming.
Multicolor Freshwater Pearl Necklace and Peach Ear Studs, Pearls of Joy
Developments in Freshwater pearl farming in China along with the introduction of bead-nucleated Edison Freshwater pearls has further changed the color landscape of these pearls. There is now a wider range of natural colors available in Freshwater pearls, and the colors are more intense, both in terms of primary body colors and secondary overtones.
With Edison pearls, the color palette includes peach, pink, pink-gold, metallic-plum, aubergine and sparkling white. In addition, these pearls have stunning overtones in shades of gold, silver, green, blue, pink and purple. The larger sizes, round shapes and enchanting colors of the Edison pearls have made them a firm favorite among jewelry lovers.
In addition, color-treated black Freshwater pearls are also important to consider. As a result of the color-treatment, the body color of these pearls is either very dark blue or almost jet black. However, many black Freshwater pearls exhibit beautiful iridescence in shades of blue-green, green, violet as well as the much-loved peacock tones.
From left to right: Freshwater, Tahitian and Golden South Sea Pearl Necklace, Freshwater Multicolor Baroque Pearl Necklace, Multicolor Freshwater Pearl Necklace, Pearls of Joy
With the alluring colors of Freshwater pearls, jewelry design possibilities become endless. For many jewelry lovers, the choice of colors available in Freshwater pearls allows for a creative way to make a personal style statement: from dangling earrings with baroque black Freshwater pearls, or a trio of colors to necklaces layered in a mix of colors and shapes and pearl rings in different shades of pink, peach and lavender (especially pale lilac and blossoming mauve, the most unique of all colors available in cultured pearls!) or a stack of bracelets in a rainbow of hues. Consider the playfulness of a necklace with a mix of Freshwater pearls in pinks and peaches, knotted beside golden South Seas and peacock Tahitians. There are so many different looks to have fun with, all the while looking elegant and radiant.
Even though Freshwater pearls are the most affordable pearls available today, they have much more to offer beyond their budget-friendly prices. With a host of superb colors and gorgeous overtones, these pearls are not only delightful and full of flair, but they also pack a punch as far as giving you options for creating your own personal jewelry style.
Featured Image: Pink Freshwater Pearl Necklace and Earrings Set, Pearls of Joy
Reema Farooqui is a content writer who loves pearls and pearl jewelry. You can find her on her website The Culture of Pearls or on Instagram at @thecultureofpearls