Articles / Freshwater Pearls Rise to a New Level

Creative design dominates the newest crop of freshwater pearl jewelry. Multi-strand bracelets, pearl cocktail rings, woven or twisted chokers and drop earrings are among the most popular styles.

Consumers shopping for pearls will find a wider variety of styles and more moderate prices than ever, thanks to the availability of freshwater pearls. Freshwater cultured pearls from China offer less-expensive choices and continue to be in good supply, rounder and prettier than in the past. Plus, improved culturing processes allow these pearls that once looked like Rice Krispies to mirror elegant, round Akoyas.

Yellow gold is the metal of choice to show off pearls of all varieties, though some designers use white gold or platinum to highlight certain pearl hues effectively. Pastel colors are particularly popular right now, and consumers are choosing unusual shapes and sizes, along with the almost-round white varieties. The Chinese pearls are available in natural white, pink, lavender, peach, apricot and beige.

Lower prices have made the dog collar, chokers and bibs popular again. The multi-strand necklaces and chokers can be tightly coiled or loosely sprayed. Mixed-color strands are particularly attractive.

Returning to the popular styles of Victorian jewelry, designers are again creating five to seven strands of freshwater pearl chokers that feature a multi-gemstone or diamond clasp.

The improved look and quality of freshwater pearls have made them a gem worthy of a solitaire setting. Whether it's a single freshwater pearl set in a gold ring or a single freshwater pearl as the focal point of a gold mesh choker, freshwater pearls are important as stand-alones. In addition, the freshwater coin pearl, a flat circular pearl, is set with gemstones or colored pearls in the newest styles of single strands.

David WeissDavid Weiss

Graduate Gemologist, GIA
Certified Appraiser