Freshwater pearls have always been a staple in all of our personal jewelry boxes here at the Ant. There are so many things to admire about them. From their iridescence, to their color variety, to the fact that each pearl is slightly different, making every piece special and unique. With this week’s new arrivals being multi-colored freshwater pearl earrings, my curiosity about how these beautiful colors were formed was sparked.


What is a freshwater Pearl?

So what exactly are freshwater pearls? Unlike natural sea pearls, which are formed without any human intervention in marine oysters, freshwater pearls are formed in freshwater mussels on mussel farms. Additionally, sea pearls are usually a perfect circle, whereas freshwater pearls can have a more oblong or oval shape. Both are extremely beautiful and wearable, but I actually prefer the freshwater pearls for their more unique shapes and variations. I like when each piece is truly one of a kind and with freshwater pearls, that is guaranteed.


How are freshwater pearls formed?

To create a freshwater pearl, a mussel is implanted with tiny pieces of mantle tissue. As a result of this, the cells of the mussel begin secreting nacre, the iridescent material pearls are made of, thus forming the pearl. This is very similar to what happens when natural pearls are formed in sea oysters. An irritant or extra piece of tissue enters the oyster, which then hardens it and encases it in nacre, forming a perfectly round pearl. Freshwater pearls are only composed of nacre with no hard center, and do not take as long to form, which explains their oval or “baroque” shape.


What causes the different colors?

In nature, the outer part of the mollusk’s shell is actually what influences the color of the freshwater pearl inside. Typically on mussel farms, the different colors are caused by the different tissue added to the mussel to produce the pearl. This way, farmers can produce certain colors in a controlled environment. Sometimes, a natural dye is added in the process to create more obscure colors. This means that freshwater pearls can come in basically every color of the rainbow– and then some!


The Bottom Line

Freshwater pearls are a beautiful way to add a little bit of nature into your jewelry collection. Whether found naturally or farmed, their unique shapes and colors can complement any style and every ear! In our new arrivals this week, we’ve got peach and lavender toned freshwater pearl drop earrings, as well as the classic white, and my personal favorite, black, which appears as a deep plum blue shade. Personally, my favorite way to wear these pieces is to mix and match different colors in my different piercings to create a beautiful layered look, but they also look stunning worn as a single to add a little iridescence to your day. (Or night!)

We hope you love them as much as we do and come into the shop to give them a try. As always, I will see you on the corner of Western and Wilson.


Maggie from the Ant Team