Pearls symbolize class and elegance. Back in the days, queens would adorn themselves with pearl jewellery as a symbol of their prestige. In the past centuries, they were even used as a currency.
Highly valued in many cultures, they remained one of the most treasured gems around the world. They are an embodiment of innocence, purity, femininity, peace and wisdom, and often symbolize new beginnings. As such, they make the perfect gift for any occasion.
Whether it’s gorgeous freshwater pearl jewellery or saltwater pearls, they infuse luxury and timeless elegance, and look stunning on anyone who wears them. Accessories such as these are an effective way to instantly elevate your style.
What Are Freshwater Pearls?
Freshwater pearls are formed in freshwater by freshwater mussels. They come in an array of different colours and can be white, pink, peach or lavender colour. They are somewhat less expensive than saltwater pearls due to not being as lustrous. However, they’re just as pretty and the biggest advantage is that a mussel can produce dozens of freshwater pearls, whereas a saltwater mollusc can produce only one.
Although freshwater pearls are naturally found in fresh waters, they can also be cultivated. Because naturally found pearls are rare, cultured pearls are the reason why they are worn as jewellery all over the world.
And if you’re wondering which country is the biggest exporter of freshwater pearls, it’s China. Although produced in some areas in the USA and Japan, the production there is much more limited.
Can I Shower With My Freshwater Pearl Jewellery?
You might think that since it’s a freshwater-produced gem, there should not be any harm in showering with your pearl jewellery. But the answer is no.
Tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals that can be damaging to the pearl over prolonged exposure. Showering can cause them to wear and tear, significantly reducing its shine. Additionally, shampoos, conditioners and body gels can further damage.
Can Freshwater Pearls Change Colour Over Time?
As with any natural material, pearls are prone to discolouration and tend to turn yellow over time if not properly cared for. Fake pearls never turn yellow because they are made of plastic or ceramic.
Another thing to distinguish when it comes to yellowing is that buying yellow pearls is not the same as a pearl that is yellowed. Yellow pearls can be naturally found with a colour that’s far more vibrant and intense than a yellowed pearl.
How To Properly Care for Freshwater Pearl Jewellery?
To prevent discolouration and yellowing, store the pearls away from other jewellery, and keep them in a cool and dry place, away from heat and water. Also, don’t keep them in plastic bags, but put them in a soft-lined box or a soft-cloth pouch instead.
For regular maintenance, wipe them gently with a soft cloth to remove any chemicals that might have come from your body deodorant and sprays. Also, when you do your makeup, you want to put the pearls once you’re done. And most importantly, don’t just store them away. If left unworn, they can easily rust due to oxidation and turn yellow.
Why Are Pearls so Highly Appreciated?
Pearls are the only gems that are produced inside the shell of a living creature. Pearls naturally come in a wide range of mesmerizing colours and don’t require touch-ups like polishing or cutting, unlike other gems. They have a natural lustrous beauty and a deep glow which makes them visually appealing and alluring.
Natural pearls are mostly appreciated for their uniqueness. Often, we can’t even notice the difference between each pearl, but if you look closely enough, you’ll be able to see that every next pearl has a unique characteristic from the previous. Although more affordable than their saltwater counterparts, freshwater pearls are still highly valued, their value largely depending on size, shape, lustre, colour, and rarity.
How Can You Test If a Pearl Is Real?
There are six ways to tell if the pearl is natural or fake, which are:
The Tooth Test
If you take a single pearl and put it between your front teeth, when you rub it you will feel a gritty surface, kind of like sandpaper, whereas fake pearls feel incredibly smooth. However, some manufacturers of fake pearls have started coating the pearls with a gritty layer, to prevent customers from spotting the difference. But generally speaking, the tooth test is still a good indicator.
The Vinegar Test
If you put a natural pearl in a cup of undiluted vinegar, you will notice that the pearl will quickly start to dissolve. If you try this with a fake pearl, nothing will happen as plastic and ceramic do not dissolve when they come in contact with vinegar.
When it comes to uniformity, each of the samples used in pearl jewellery Australia designer stores have slightly differs from the next. By comparing several, you may be able to see unique blemishes in different spots. Also, if you look closely, you will see that they are not perfectly round-shaped and each pearl has some unevenness on the surface. When it comes to fake pearls, you can notice that every single pearl is identical with no differences in the surface, whatsoever.
If you take a fake pearl and look closely at the drilled hole, or even better, use a magnifier for better visibility, you can notice a build-up of material around the hole. Unlike fake pearls, if you do the same with a real pearl, it will have a pretty crisp and clear area around the hole drill.
Also, if you try to put your finger on the build-up around the drill hole in fake pearls, you’ll be able to push away the build-up and cause the material to peel, which will never happen with real pearls.
If the pearl strand feels light, there’s a pretty good chance that the pearls are fake. This is because faux pearls are often made from plastic which is lighter than actual pearls.
The Fire Test
Another effective way to distinguish between fake and real pearls is to take a lighter and hold the pearl in the fire. If it’s plastic, it will start melting away as plastic cannot withstand the heat. Also, on glass beads will appear a scorch which is a clear indicator that the pearl is not real.
A real pearl will not burn or scorch and will stay cold to the touch. However, to ensure you’re buying real jewellery, always buy from reputable and trustworthy companies.