Cultured freshwater pearls are usually cultured in freshwater mussels living in rivers, lakes and ponds, mainly in China, but also in Japan and the United States. They grow in many shapes and most pastel colors, including white to silver-white, many shades and saturations of pink, purple, orange and gold. The most common colors are white, pink-orange and purple. Typical sizes of freshwater cultured pearls range from 1 mm to 14 mm. The largest known round cultured pearl is nearly 22 mm in diameter. Baroque shapes can be elongated and over 35 mm in length. Improvements in cultivation techniques allow a single mussel to produce more than one pearl at a time. Freshwater cultured pearls take from 1 to 6 years to grow. 100 East Fine Jewelry does not routinely design jewelry made with cultured freshwater pearls. Instead, we occasionally find pieces made by other designers which we carry as Gordon’s Curated Selection.
The single most important phrase to remember when caring for pearl jewelry is: “Last on – first off”. This means that you should put your pearl jewelry (actually any jewelry) on last, that is, after you’ve applied all your make-up, perfumes and other sprays. At the end of the evening, your pearl and other jewelry should be first off, that is, removed before pulling off clothing, washing yourself, etc. To learn more about cultured pearls, or any of our gemstones, visit our education and resources page.