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The Wide World of Pearls, Our 83rd Issue: Guide to White Pearl Overtones

Pearls of Joy Pearl Quote of the Week: "My dream is to adorn the neck of all women around the world with pearls." -  Kokichi Mikimoto



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Guide to White Pearl Overtones

White Pearl Overtones Guide



Each of the white pearl types (Japanese Akoya, Freshwater pearls from China and White South Sea pearls from Australia) have some form of pale coloring; never can a pearl just be described as "plain white".

The range of hues and shades of white is nearly endless, and depends on a combination of the primary white body color, tinged with a secondary color that appears to float over the surface of the pearl - this is called the pearl's overtone. 

Overtones for white pearls can generally be divided into three colors:

  • Rose (also called rosé)
  • Silver
  • Cream

However, each pearl type displays its overtones in a unique, distinct way. This quick Guide to White Pearl Overtones will walk you through all three types and their overtone variations. 

Akoya Pearls


White Akoya Pearl Overtones


Akoya Pearl Overtones

Akoya pearls will feature a white body color, either warm or cool toned. The overtones laid over the principal body color are usually fairly pronounced, but can vary in intensity. 

Rose Overtones

Akoya Pearl Overtones: Rose


Rose overtones are the most popular and traditional of all three variations. Rose is best described as a very pale to deep pink color laid over either a warm or cool body color. Rose is the most popular as it is considered the most complimentary to women of all complexions, and adds a nice touch of color complexity and depth to the pearls.

Rose overtones can be paired with either yellow or white gold clasps and mountings, depending on the effect you want to have. Yellow gold enhances the pearl's warmth and sparkle; white gold will help enhance undertones of blue or green and give the pearls a cooler appearance.

Silver Overtones

Akoya Pearl Overtones: Silver


The silver overtone is best described as a bright white - as close to a plain white as it's possible to get. Usually silver overtones feature an under tinge of blue to green that helps cool down the overall tone of the pearl. It is popular because it looks closest to what most shoppers envision when they’re thinking about a white pearl necklace.

The silver overtone looks best on women with tan or Mediterranean complexions, due to the contrast of the whiteness of the pearls against the darker skin tones. This helps the pearls optically magnify and appear larger and brighter than they actually are.

Silver overtones can be easily and beautifully paired with either white or yellow gold mountings. White gold will help enhance the cooler tones of the pearls, and yellow gold will add depth and warmth.

Cream Overtones

Akoya Pearl Overtones: Cream


Cream overtones are the third most popular overtone and looks like a pale yellowish tinge and gives the pearls a classic, vintage look. The cream overtone pairs best with women who have pinker complexions, blondes, older women and red heads, as this vintage-looking overtone won’t clash with these hues.

It is generally recommended to pair cream overtone pearls with yellow gold clasps, chains and mountings as the warmth of the gold will compliment and enhance the warmth of the pearls. White gold pairings can tend to be a bit incongruous, however with the right cream overtone (something pastel, not "too" deep of a cream) the effect can be quite striking.


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 Weekly Product Spotlight: White Freshwater Triple Strand Pearl Bracelet



Triple White Freshwater Pearl Bracelet

This triple white freshwater pearl bracelet is certain to grab the attention of anyone who sees this beauty. This pearl bracelet is compiled of three high-quality strands of hand picked white freshwater pearls with 'Very High' grade luster, our highest grade available. The pearl color on this strand is white and the bracelet comes affixed with a beautiful triple strand clasp. You can upgrade to a 14K clasp by choosing a premium clasp as well.


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