In the words of Jackie Kennedy, “Pearls are always appropriate.”
Pearls are one of the classiest and most timeless types of jewelry out there. They’re known mostly for their color — that creamy white hue that complements any look. The color is not only gorgeous, but it works well with almost any color palette.
Pearl jewelry is also popular because of its versatility. You can dress pearls down or up, depending on how and when you wear them. Whether you wear a string of pearls on a night out or pearl earrings to work, these dainty but memorable balls of wonder are truly one-of-a-kind.
While you may love pearls — and even have plenty of pearl jewelry in your collection — you may not know the ins and outs of this classic jewelry.
Here’s a breakdown of all things pearls, including the difference between saltwater and freshwater pearls, how to care for your pearls, and how to use pearls to complement any outfit.
The Difference Between Saltwater and Freshwater Pearls
If you didn’t already know, pearls come from the ocean, specifically from a mollusk shell. This is where the magic happens. Inside its shell, the mollusk makes layers of nacre, which come together to form a pearl.
Most pearls are what’s considered “cultured” — or not naturally made. This just means that someone inserts a tiny piece of mollusk tissue into the shell, causing it to produce a pearl. This makes for a more predictable process compared to waiting for a pearl to form on its own.
One of the primary differences among pearls is whether they’re made in saltwater or freshwater. But, what does that really mean?
First off, freshwater pearls are almost 100% made of nacre (that substance that the mollusk makes), while saltwater pearls have a thinner nacre coating (about 0.5 mm to 6 mm).
Also, freshwater pearls produce a softer luster, meaning they aren’t as glossy. Saltwater pearls sometimes look more superficial due to their shine.
Our pearls are freshwater pearls, which lend themselves to a more modern and sophisticated look. Freshwater pearls often come with a more reasonable price point, which means we can provide you with quality pearl jewelry — without breaking the bank.
How to Take Care of Your Pearls
Pearls are delicate, and they tend to require a little more care compared to other jewelry.
At Playa Luna, we want you to love your jewelry for years to come. Here are some tips on how to care for your pearl jewelry to keep its luster and look:
- After each wear, wipe your pearls with a soft cloth. This will keep buildup from staying on your pearls and causing damage over time.
- Clean using a damp cloth when necessary. If your pearls are noticeably dirty, use a solution of lukewarm water and mild dish soap to wipe them clean with a soft cloth. Important tip: Do not submerge your pearls in the water. This will cause the silk thread to weaken.
- Dry out your pearls completely before storing them. Just like you wouldn’t put wet clothes in your drawer, don’t put wet pearls in your jewelry storage.
- Never use a steam or ultrasonic jewelry cleaner on your pearls. This can damage the outer layer of the pearl (the part that gives it the signature pearl look).
Learn more about how to care for the rest of your Playa Luna jewelry collection.
The Trick to Styling Your Pearls
Now for the fun part — styling your pearls. While we love the versatility of pearls, that can also be overwhelming at times. We get it!
Here are some of our favorite tips on styling your pearls that’ll make you look like a jewelry pro:
- Play up the minimalistic look. One of the best parts of pearls is their simplicity. Use this to your advantage and keep your look simple, too. Wear a dainty pearl necklace over your favorite tee, and pair it with jeans and a casual jacket or blazer.
- Stick to a black and white theme. The classic black and white theme is perfect for the office, date night, or a night on the town. Pair our Sophia bracelet with your black and white outfit, and your look will definitely be a hit.
- Wear your pearls with pastels. Pairing your pearls with soft pastel hues will elevate any outfit. We love our Nicole bracelet and Diana necklace for this simple but feminine look.
- Don't be afraid to mix! Pearls are the perfect complement to other jewelry pieces. Mix your pearls with your other gold, silver, or colored beaded jewelry. It's the perfect way to give your pearl game a little modern refresh.
The beauty of pearls is that they will adapt to any look. Whether you’re going for a classic look or something a little more vibrant and modern, as Jackie O says, pearls are always a good idea.
Looking for more jewelry ideas? Explore the Playa Luna jewelry collection, or learn about the difference between gold filled and gold plated jewelry.