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A pair of 9 millimeter cream white freshwater cultured pearl stud earrings with white gold posts

Freshwater Pearl Guide

When it comes to lustrous colors and unique shapes, freshwater pearls take the prize. Delicate cream, white and light pink hues thrill pearl lovers, while their range of round and oval shapes makes a statement
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What Are Freshwater Pearls?

True to their name, freshwater pearls are born in rivers, lakes and streams across China and the United States. Each freshwater pearl mussel is capable of producing multiple gems at once, creating versatile, affordable and stunning pearls to wear and cherish.

What Sets Freshwater Pearls Apart?

Almost all pearls on today’s market, including freshwater pearls, are cultured pearls, which are equally as beautiful as natural pearls, much more plentiful and more affordable. To cultivate freshwater pearls, skilled technicians implant a small piece of tissue, called the nucleus, in the mussel to begin the cultivation process. The mussel coats each nucleus with layers of glossy nacre, producing alluring freshwater pearls. What sets freshwater pearls apart from others is their range of shimmering colors. The naturally diverse environments where they’re created give freshwater pearls a range of colors you don’t usually think of when you consider pearls, including silvery white, striking pink, lavender and orange.

What to Look for in a Freshwater Pearl

Freshwater pearls are exquisite in any type of jewelry. Pearl fans choose their gems based on the attributes they personally find most appealing.
  • Size

    Freshwater pearls range from small to moderately sized, usually falling between 3 mm and 12 mm. Larger pearls are typically more expensive and are measured by size rather than weight to ensure a fair price. While larger pearls command a higher price, any size looks captivating when set in the right piece of jewelry.
  • Color

    Coveted for their stunning range of soft colors, you’ll find freshwater pearls in an array of colors. Cultivated mollusks create these colors naturally, delivering shimmering pearls with intense body color. Pearls with rich colors typically command a higher price, as they are somewhat rarer than white and cream.
  • Shape

    While perfectly round pearls are the most valuable, freshwater pearls are popular for their range of off-round and oval shapes. These unique designs make freshwater pearls a popular choice for accent pieces like pendants and earrings, while more expensive round freshwater pearls make beautiful pearl strands.
  • Luster

    Known for their satiny lustre, freshwater pearls give a softer glow than their saltwater counterparts. Look for a clean surface with no scrapes or markings to find the best value.

    We offer a wide selection of freshwater pearls to suit every price point. While certain styles like large, round pearls may be the most valuable, deciding which styles, shapes and colors you’ll wear in your favorite jewelry is purely a matter of taste.

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How to Choose Freshwater Pearl Jewelry

Whether pearls are your June Birthstone, or you simply love their elegance, begin your freshwater pearl jewelry journey using a few simple buying tips
  1. 1

    Determine Your Budget

    If affordability is key for you, freshwater pearls are a great option, since they’re generally less expensive—but no less gorgeous—than other pearl types.
  2. 2

    Shop by Style

    There’s no one-size-fits-all for pearls. Finding the right size, shape and color depends on the jewelry style. Round, matching pearls work best for strands, while baroque and off-round shapes make a charming statement as drop earrings and pendants.
  3. 3

    Find a Retailer You Trust

    You should always feel confident knowing you’ll love your jewelry purchase. We make it easy with free 30-day returns, so you can always upgrade if you find a color or size you love even more.

How to Care for Freshwater Pearls

  • Keep your jewels looking like new for generations by properly caring for your pearls.
  • When you’re getting ready, put your pearls on last, since they can be damaged by body and hair care products.
  • Wipe your pearls with a soft cloth after you wear them.
  • Store them flat in a soft cloth bag to prevent scratches.

Learn More About Pearls

We love freshwater pearls for their signature shapes and pastel hues. Ready to discover what makes all of our pearl types special? Learn more about South Sea pearls, Tahitian pearls and Akoya pearls to find out why there’s something to treasure in every pearl.

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