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Treated freshwater cultured pearls

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.  

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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.

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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. 

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:

Temperature: 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.  

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

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

Texture: 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

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.  

Pearl necklaces  

We love the look of Pandora pearl necklaces, whether you choose sterling silver or 14k gold-plated styles. 

Pearl bracelets  

Find thoughtfully designed pieces that speak to your individual style, from bangles with pearl charms to pearl chain bracelets

Pearl earrings 

A simple pair of pearl hoop earrings are the perfect finishing touch for any occasion. Style your way for a look as unique as you are.  

Keep your Pandora perfect

Keep your Pandora collection as sparkly as you are! Discover how to clean your jewellery and give it the care it deserves.

Care set
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Mother of pearl

With a mesmerising lustre and intriguing iridescence, mother of pearl is one of nature’s most luminous gifts.

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It's not an actual pearl

Mother of pearl (or nacre) is not an actual pearl, but rather the pearly inner layer found within certain types of mollusc shells. Consisting mainly of calcium carbonate, it is created by the mollusc as a way of protecting itself from parasites.

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Let the light waves in

Mother of pearl has a platelet structure which reflects light waves and produces its renowned iridescent sheen.

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Giving birth to the pearl

A pearl is created from layers and layers of nacre or mother of pearl forming together. Mother of pearl essentially “gives birth” to the pearl, thus the reason behind its name.

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It's an organic gemstone

It originates from a living creature, plant or organism and is primarily made up of calcium carbonate.

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Has associations with family and motherhood

Mother of pearl is often associated with family and motherhood. It represents harmony, calmness, positivity and intuition.

The look

Although not many know this, mother of pearl can be virtually any colour, often light in tone, with pearly lustre and often an iridescent effect.


After the mother of pearl is cut from the shell of the oyster, it's sometimes bleached to produce a uniform white colour or dyed a range of attractive colours. A light polishing is applied to accentuate the pearlescent effect. Mother of pearl is often cut into fancy shapes for jewellery use. The shaping can either be done by hand in traditional manner or achieved using modern laser cutting technology (CNC). In ancient times, mother of pearl was also used for mosaics, created with tiny pieces of the luminous gem.


Mother of pearl has a hardness of 3.5-4.0 on the Mohs scale. With fair toughness, it's reasonably durable, but it's particularly susceptible to attack by acids and damage from ultrasonic cleaning and is sensitive to solvents.

How to care for it?

Rough surfaces may cause scratching or chipping. Jewellery should be stored separately in a protective box or pouch. Direct sunlight and drier climates may dry out mother of pearl and create cracks. Wearing mother of pearl is one of the best ways of caring for it, as contact with natural skin oils help maintain the lustre of the gem. Clean using a soft cloth dampened in lukewarm, soapy water and wipe the surface gently.

Keep your Pandora perfect

Keep your Pandora collection as sparkly as you are! Discover how to clean your jewellery and give it the care it deserves.

Care set
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