Freshwater pearls 5-30 mm

Large genuine freshwater pearls for jewelry making

On this page you find Smyks' selection of large size freshwater pearls and baroque Keshi style beads with diameters ranging from 5 to 30mm. These cultured pearls had to spent 4 to 10 years in a freshwater mussel to reach their large size. Their colour shades range from natural pearl white to light pink, peach, bordeaux and bluish varieties.
For making necklaces and bracelets with pearls this size, we recommend the slightly stronger silk beading thread with a diameter of 0.7mm or beading wire with 0.38mm gauge.
Please visit our blog to find instructions on how to make pearl necklaces with silk beading thread and necklaces with beading wire.

See also the related blog post about DIY jewelry with baroque pearls.
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Freshwater pearls are either natural or cultured pearls that form inside freshwater mussels. They are a type of gemstone that has been used in jewelry for centuries because of their beauty and unique changing luster. Freshwater pearls differ from saltwater pearls as they form in freshwater environments such as rivers, lakes and ponds, while saltwater pearls form in marine mussels in the ocean.


How are freshwater pearls formed?

Freshwater pearls form inside freshwater mussels as a protective response to an irritant, such as a grain of sand, entering the mussel. The mussel perceives this foreign object as a threat to its internal tissues and tries to protect itself from it.
To protect itself, the mussel begins to deposit layers of nacre (also known as mother-of-pearl) around the irritant. This nacre is primarily made up of calcium carbonate and organic material. The layers of nacre are gradually deposited around the irritant over time.
The mussel continues to form layers of nacre over the course of several years. This layer-by-layer build-up is essential for the characteristic shine and color play that mother-of-pearl is known for. The process of forming freshwater pearls is therefore very unpredictable. Pearls therefore vary greatly in size, color and quality depending on the species of mussel, environmental conditions and the specific irritant that triggered the pearl formation. Every freshwater pearl is therefore unique, which is why we have a great love for them in jewelry making.


How do I use freshwater pearls in jewelry?

Freshwater pearls can be used in a myriad of ways when making your own jewelry. For centuries, the elegant and simple pearl necklace with large and round baroque pearls has been a sure winner. Because freshwater pearls come in so many sizes, shapes and colors, you can always find a freshwater pearl for your next piece of jewellery. 
At Smyks, the majority of our freshwater pearls are pierced. This means that you can pass a thread, string or wire through the pearl. In addition, we also have a nice selection of drilled freshwater pearls. These beads are only drilled from one side. Arboret beads are perfect for when you want to make earrings with freshwater pearls. With a little glue and an ear stud with a pin, you can make your own elegant pearl earrings!


What colors are freshwater pearls available in?

Freshwater pearls come in a wide range of natural colors, and their color variations depend on several factors, including the species of mussel, geographical location, environmental conditions, and the minerals and organic compounds present in the water where the mussel lives. 
White is arguably the most common color of freshwater pearls. It's also the one that most people think of when they hear the word 'pearl necklace'. They vary from pure white to an ivory or creamy shade. White pearls are timeless and classic and are often used in wedding jewelry due to their symbolic connection to purity, beauty, love and femininity.
At Smyks, we also have a large selection of peach-colored freshwater pearls. The peach colored pearls give a beautiful and warm glow to your jewellery as the pearls delicately shimmer in subtle orange and pink undertones. 
We also sell pearls in other colors. For example, we have freshwater pearls in purple, hot pink, blue and silver gray. These pearls can give your next piece of jewellery a little edge while still retaining the elegance of freshwater pearls.