Freshwater Pearls – When many people think of pearls, they picture shiny balls of milky white country club perfection. But the world of pearl jewelry is much more than that. Freshwater pearls cultivated from pearly mussels can be purchased at bead shops and department stores, in dozens of colors from salmon to silvery blue.
- 1 Choose The Right Pearl Jewelry For Her
- 2 Make Jewelry for Holiday Gifts
- 3 Where to buy the supplies:
Choose The Right Pearl Jewelry For Her
One of the best things about gifting freshwater pearls is that no two necklaces or earrings will look the same, so it is possible to individualize pieces according to the styles of the women in your life. Bead shops sell pearls individually, and separate them into containers by size, luster, and color, making it easy to create custom pieces. For the less crafty shopper, many major department stores carry a variety of freshwater pearl jewelry within the $10-20 dollar price range.
A Pearl For Every Occasion
Freshwater pearls are not as formal looking as saltwater pearls, so they need not be reserved for rare special occasions like wedding anniversaries and college graduations. Since no two freshwater pearl jewelry items are the same, it is feasible to give the gift of pearls for many different occasions throughout the year. Luminous freshwater pearls make fun, appropriate presents for relatives and friends of all ages, and they can be given for birthdays, holidays, and graduations, or whenever women need presents. Tip: Individualized pearl necklaces make great bridesmaid favors.
How Are Saltwater Pearls Formed?
The traditional pearl market is based on naturally occurring saltwater pearls found in certain oysters and mussels in the ocean. Pearls form as a result of a biological defense mechanism. When sand and other foreign objects get into mollusk shells (typically oyster shells), the mollusks releasing a substance called nacre to coat the foreign substance and protect the delicate lining of their anatomy. This nacre builds up and eventually forms pearls. Finding perfectly round pearls and matching them by size and color is extremely time consuming and difficult, and so saltwater pearls became highly prized commodities
How Are Freshwater Pearls Formed?
After many years of fishing for perfectly formed pearls deep in the ocean, someone came up with the bright idea of cultivating pearls—not making fake pearls, but giving Mother Nature a little push in the direction of pearl production. After some trial and error, it was discovered that pearls would form in freshwater more readily than in saltwater, and that their production could be encouraged by making a small incision in the lining of a mussel, which would prompt the mussel to release nacre.
Make Jewelry for Holiday Gifts
Giving artisan handcrafted jewelry as a gift to a loved one or close friend truly shows that you care. Since artisan crafted jewelry is not mass-produced you are giving a unique piece of wearable art.
This holiday season show you care by handcrafting this elegant sterling silver and akoya pearl necklace to give as a gift.
Where to buy the supplies:
The sterling silver bail, necklace and akoya pearl were purchased online at Rio Grande. I have ordered from Rio Grande for years with complete satisfaction. You will need to establish a customer account to be able to order from Rio Grande. This is an easy, simple process.
Your supply list:
- One half drilled 4mm Akoya Pearl. Rio Grande item #822-140
- One sterling silver filigree bail, cup size 5.7mm. Rio Grande item #630-138
- One sterling silver chain. I used a 16″ long, 1.6mm sterling curb. Rio Grande item #698-700/16
- Fast set glue pen
Don’t want to purchase from Rio Grande? You can buy freshwater pearls and bails at any craft store that sells jewelry making supplies. Just make sure that the size of your pearl in diameter is slightly smaller than the cup size of the bail – as shown above (4mm pearl with a 5.7mm bail).
Handcraft the necklace:
This elegant and rich looking necklace could not be easier to handcraft. To follow are the three simple steps:
The sterling silver bail will come with a post upon which the pearl is normally placed. Rather than have you use a pearl reamer to enlarge the hole in the pearl if needed – just bend the post back and forth until it breaks off as close to the base as possible.
Using your fast set glue pen place a few dots of glue inside the bail and firmly place your pearl in the bail. Make sure the hole in the pearl is hidden in the cup of the bail. Steady the pearl/bail combination for a minute or so giving the fast set glue a chance to work.
After the glue has a chance to set totally, thread the bail onto the sterling silver chain. Voila! You are done.
How I gift wrap my jewelry presents:
Place the necklace in a small plastic bag in which you have also placed an anti-tarnish strip. If this necklace is wiped off, allowed to completely dry and stored in this bag between wearings the need to polish this necklace should be minimal.
Then place the plastic bag into a black velvet or colorful taffeta drawstring bag. Attach a gift tag and you are done.
The fabrication and gift wrapping process takes less than 10 minutes.