Tips on Using Saltwater Pearls

pink saltwater pearls on string


Owning pearls has been viewed as a sign of wealth for many centuries. Saltwater pearls have a long history of being used in jewelry and are considered classy and classic. They often make appearances at big events such as weddings, anniversaries, and other milestone celebrations.

Earrings, necklaces, and bracelets featuring saltwater pearls are often passed down as family heirlooms for generations to enjoy this timeless look.


Know How Saltwater Pearls Are Formed

At one time, pearls were rare and somewhat hard to find. Natural pearls formed by complete accident, and people were lucky to find one. Pearls form when oysters, mussels, or clams get an irritant within their shell. The irritant gets coated over with nacre and, in time, a beautiful gem-quality pearl is formed. These natural pearls can come in a variety of unusual shapes.

Technology and innovation now allow us to purposely create cultured pearls. This is done by implanting an irritant, such as Mother of Pearl, into an oyster, mussel, or clam. In time (usually at least three years), a beautiful, gem-quality pearl is available. Cultured saltwater pearls are great for use in jewelry because they tend to be very round and smooth.

Saltwater pearls are more lustrous and glossy than freshwater pearls because the nacre isn’t as thick. They are also prone to chipping and can be vulnerable to wear. However, people appreciate their superior luster and round shape.


Understand How Pearls Are Graded

If you are going to make or invest in pearl jewelry, you need to understand how pearls are graded. In this case, the grading reflects the quality and value of the pearl. Unfortunately, pearls are quite complicated. There are also many companies involved in the cultivation and selling of pearls, so each can have slightly different grading scales, and the subsequent value is unclear.

white saltwater pearls isolated

Be Prepared to Care Properly for the Pearls

In general, the size, shape, color, and luster of the pearl affect pearl grading. Given the differences in grading scales, as you buy pearls, you might be most interested in the details of the pearls. Look for a company that will specifically tell you the size, shape, color, and luster-quality of the pearls you may purchase. This will help you make an educated decision.

Pearls are unique and special, in part because they are the only organic gemstone. Most natural gemstones are formed underground by pressure and heat. This makes them strong. However, pearls are formed by living creatures, and they are more delicate.

If you are investing in pearls, and if you want that investment to result in heirloom pieces, you will need to provide special care to your pearl jewelry. First, make sure you store your pearls properly. Ideally, they should be stored in a soft cloth. Do not store them in plastic, as it can produce chemicals that are damaging for pearls. Also, keep them away from heat.

Personal care products and chemicals can damage pearls by diminishing the luster. It is for this reason that pearls should be the last item you put on while dressing and the first you remove. Pearls should be enjoyed and worn. Wearing pearls exposes them to the natural air and moisture, which is needed to keep them from becoming overly dry.

When cleaning pearls, never use abrasive items such as toothbrushes. Do not use household chemicals such as dish soap or window cleaner. Pearls should not be cleaned with ultrasonic methods or steam. Use only jewelry cleaners that specifically indicate they are safe for pearls. Using water does not hurt pearls, and you can quickly clean them with a damp, soft cloth.


Consider Using Pearls in Classic or Unique Designs

multiple strands of pearl chains


If you are purchasing pearl jewelry, you will see many options that might draw your eye and match your personal style. If you decide to purchase pearls and design your own jewelry, then you can consider crafting many classic or unique, modern designs. You can also select from a variety of pearl sizes, shapes, and colors.

Some classic pearl designs include a single strand of pearls or a set of pearl chains. The single strand is a fashionable style for wedding days and debutante balls. A set of pearl chains works well for many occasions and more casual looks. You might enjoy having a matching set with a pearl bracelet. Single pearl or drop pearl earrings are also classic designs to consider.

One modern pearl creation design is quickly becoming a classic is the floating pearl necklace. In this design, pearls are strung onto thin, nearly invisible material. This allows the pearls to look like they are floating around your neck. Pearls can also be mixed in with other gemstone beads. Pearls are also great for use in statement pieces, such as grouped in a cluster on a silver chain.


Pearl jewelry is a great investment. Pearls can be used to create unique items that will look beautiful with many different outfits and for various occasions. Saltwater pearls are classic and, no matter the trends of the moment, they will still be in style.