Freshwater pearls are created in mussels or oysters in rivers, lakes or ponds and tend to be more irregular in shape and more varied in color than saltwater pearls. Freshwater pearls sell for less mainly because they are more abundant and have more variations that naturally occur during their development. Laura Lively freshwater pearls, like the Caroline shown here, are not only real and beautiful, but they also offer a great value for pearl shoppers.
As with all jewelry, if you don't care for and maintain your pearls, you risk the chance of discoloration and yellowing. Avoid contact with perfume and chemicals in general. Also skin chemistry, which can change depending upon the weather, can be a factor if your skin is prone to acidity. Acidity will cause the pearl to lose its luster over time. Perspiration, humidity and suntan lotion all affect your jewelry so be sure to keep your freshwater pearls clean. And remember to apply your makeup before putting on your necklace.
CLEANING TIPS FOR YOUR PEARLS
Freshwater pearls are delicate and will easily scratch if stored next to other jewelry. To prevent damage always store your pearls in a jewelry pouch. Laura Lively provides one free with any purchase. Here are a few key tips:
1. Clean your pearls after each wearing.
2. Simply wipe with a soft cloth, microfiber jewelry cloth or chamois, either damp or dry, to remove any skin oils or dirt. A drop of olive oil on the cloth can be used to help maintain the luster.
3. If damp, lay them on a soft cloth to dry before storing. If they are strung on silk be aware that silk shrinks if it gets wet but will also stretch if hung to dry.
4. Avoid using cleaners, detergents, brushes and ultrasound cleaners.
5. If your necklace is particularly dirty take it to a jeweler or use a recommended jewelry cleaner.
Properly strung pearl necklaces are all individually knotted between beads. This helps to prevent pearl loss if a strand were to break. Knots also keep pearls from knocking into each other and rubbing. Adding knots also adds strength and endurance to a beaded necklace and it is considered a mark of quality. If your piece is worn frequently, it is recommended you restring it every two to three years.
A few more things about pearls
The value of a freshwater pearl is based on its shape, size, color and luster of the nacre. Because the freshwater pearl was started with human assistance it is still considered to be a cultured pearl. Freshwater pearls come in variety of colors and shapes including gold and grey, as shown here.
Not sure if your pearls are real? One easy test for authenticity (but not always reliable) is to rub the pearls lightly along the biting edge of your upper front teeth. If they feel gritty or sandy, they are real pearls. If they feel smooth, they are probably imitations.