Your guide to freshwater pearl jewellery

Old Hollywood glamour? Sleek minimalism with a modern edge? Whatever aesthetic you’re going for, pearls are your new best friend. From the simplicity of a single pearl drop earring to the extravagance of layered pearl necklaces, this material can do it all.
Our treated freshwater cultured pearl jewellery is here to add the finishing touch to your jewellery collection. From colours to care guidance, get clued up on all things pearls with our freshwater pearl jewellery guide.

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What are freshwater pearls?

So, what exactly are freshwater pearls, and where do they come from? A natural freshwater pearl is a lustrous gem produced by an oyster or other mollusc living in fresh water, like a lake.
A freshwater cultured pearl is produced in the same way as a natural freshwater pearl but with an extra helping hand from humans.

What are treated freshwater pearls?

When do freshwater cultured pearls become treated? Once harvested, the freshwater cultured pearls used in Pandora jewellery are treated to enhance their colour, lustre and appearance. Like natural pearls, our treated freshwater cultured pearls contain nacre throughout.

How are freshwater pearls made?

Let’s take a look at how natural freshwater pearls are made. When an irritant gets into the shell of the oyster or other mollusc, it begins to coat it with many layers of a pearly substance called nacre, eventually creating a lustrous pearl. 

Unlike a natural pearl, a freshwater cultured pearl starts with human intervention. A skilled pearl technician gently inserts an irritant into the shell of a freshwater mussel. The mussels are then put into nets and submerged in the lakes surrounding the pearl farm.  

The irritant in the shell grows to form a pearl sac in which the mother of pearl (nacre) is deposited layer upon layer until a pearl is formed. The longer the molluscs are left alone, the larger the pearl will grow. A freshwater mussel can create up to 50 cultured pearls at a time.

Pearl jewellery crafted with care

Using only the highest quality treated freshwater cultured pearls, our skilled craftspeople transform these natural gems into elegant jewellery pieces.

What’s the difference between cultured and freshwater pearls?

The term “cultured pearl” means genuine pearls produced with human assistance, as described above. There are two types of cultured pearls: freshwater and saltwater.

Freshwater pearls are harvested in lakes, rivers or ponds, while saltwater pearls come from the ocean. As saltwater pearls are more expensive, freshwater cultured pearls are great for everyday jewellery.

How to tell if freshwater pearls are real

With technology advancing each year, it can be difficult to tell whether jewellery is made from real freshwater pearls or fake man-made beads. Here’s how to tell if freshwater pearls are real:

Fact 1 of 4


Genuine pearls are instantly cool to the touch before they warm up to your skin. Fake pearls, on the other hand, tend to be room temperature or take a long time to warm up against your skin.

Fact 2 of 4


Each genuine pearl is unique and will have its own indentations. A string of identical pearls is likely fake.

Fact 3 of 4


Genuine pearls have a depth of colour. Uniform colours indicate fake pearls.

Fact 4 of 4


Rub the pearls together gently. A gritty texture is a sign of genuine pearls.

Freshwater pearl colours

Pandora’s freshwater cultured pearls are treated through bleaching or dyeing to enhance or change the colour. Once harvested, white pearls are bleached, while coloured ones are dyed. Both types undergo a lustre-enhancing treatment.
The most classic pearl colour is white or ivory, but thanks to dyeing technology, we can wear pearls in an array of lustrous colours. Some pearls also display an iridescent colour phenomenon known as “orient.”

Our treated freshwater pearl jewellery

Want to keep your sterling silver jewellery looking brand new? Searching for statement or everyday pearl pieces? Pandora treated freshwater pearl jewellery is here to take your looks to the next level.
As the birthstone for June, pearls also make a fitting birthday gift for friends or family. Our tips below to get started.

How to care for freshwater pearls

Treated freshwater cultured pearls are quite soft, with a hardness level of 2.5-4 on the Mohs scale, used to rate gem hardness. Because of this, they’re prone to scratching and damage from acids, solvents, ultrasonic cleaning and dehydration.
Some dyed pearls may fade or revert to their original colour when exposed to sunlight or strong light. Here are our tips to keep your freshwater pearl jewellery looking great:

Tip 1

Apply all cosmetics and perfumes before putting on your pearl jewellery.

Tip 2

Don’t expose pearl jewellery to ultrasonic cleaning or high temperatures.

Tip 3

Avoid exposing dyed pearls to strong sunlight or display lighting for extended periods.

Tip 4

Never soak treated freshwater cultured pearls in water or rub them harshly. Instead, wipe them with a very soft cloth that has been dampened in clean lukewarm water, then pat dry.

Tip 5

Your skin’s natural oils and moisture help prevent your pearls from drying out. Wearing pearls is one of the best ways to keep them looking their best.

Ready to embrace the everlasting elegance of pearls? Discover the latest designs in our jewellery collections.