Freshwater Cultured Pearls

Janice Stiles

Pearl Collection

Cultured freshwater pearls, as opposed to saltwater pearls, are grown in mollusks that reside in freshwater environments such as rivers and lakes. This type of cultured pearl is formed when the pearl sac of mantle tissue inside the mollusk grows in a way that encounters resistance or irregularities.

Differing from saltwater pearls because of their unusual shapes, cultured freshwater pearls are highly versatile and can be incorporated into various jewelry pieces such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings, enhancing any ensemble effortlessly.

As a jewelry artist, I find great pleasure in working with these pearls, particularly the captivating Baroque pearls with their unique and asymmetrical shapes setting them apart from traditional spherical pearls and adding a distinct and artistic touch to my designs. 
Freshwater Cultured Pearls


Yes, freshwater pearls can be round, but they are very rare. Most freshwater pearls are more irregularly shaped and fall into the baroque or semi-baroque category.

Baroque pearls can have unusual shapes, such as teardrop, coin, potato, stick, or seed, all of which are very desirable. While they may be slightly more affordable than round pearls, they have their own charm and uniqueness. They can naturally display a variety of colors from classic white and cream tones to shades of pink, lavender, and gray. Dying freshwater pears is a common practice to meet market demands but does not decrease their value. Each baroque pearl possesses its own enchanting personality and luster. Their unconventional appearance adds a touch of individuality and artistic flair to any jewelry piece which is why I enjoy working with them.

Pearl Boats

 Copper Circle Pendant

I frequently will make sets like the above Copper Circle/Coin Pearl Pendant with a beautiful related or matching pair of earrings that of course could be worn together or separate depending on your preference.


Pearls are delicate organic creations with a beautiful surface. To preserve their beauty and longevity, you need to know how to take care of them. Avoid exposing them to chemicals like chloring, ammonia, hair spray, lotion, perfume and makeup. They are soft and prone to scratching, scoring only 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale so steer clear of rough fabrics and anything that might cause surface scratches.

Don’t forget to wear your pearls! Wearing pearls benefits them as they absorb moisture from the air and your body, along with the natural oils from your skin. Always follow the “last on, first off” rule for your pearl jewelry which means that you should put your pearl jewelry on after applying makeup, perfume, hairspray and other chemicals, and take them off before changing clothes or going to bed.

Here are some more tips on how to take care of your pearl jewelry:

  • Before putting your pearls away, wipe them with a soft cloth to remove oils and perspiration.
  • Do not use any chemicals, abrasives, or ultrasonic cleaners to clean your pearls.
  • Use only mild soap and water and dry them gently with a soft cloth.
  • Store your pearls in a separate pouch or drawer in your jewelry box, away from other metals or gemstones that might scratch them.
  • Avoid exposing your pearls to extreme heat, light, or humidity as they can cause the pearls to crack or lose their color.


Taking good care of your pearls is necessary so as not to damage them. Wear your pearls often, as they benefit from the moisture and oils of your skin.


Jackie Kennedy: “Pearls are always appropriate.”


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