Pearl jewelry guide

Cleopatra. Jackie Kennedy. Audrey Hepburn. What do these famous figures have in common? They’re all known for wearing pearls. Belonging to a small group of precious, natural stones classified as organic gems, pearls have fascinated us for centuries with their mysterious beauty. Their enduring appeal makes them shine in a wide array of jewellery styles, from elegant classics to fresh, modern pieces.
Eyeing a new pearl piece for your jewelry collection, or looking for an extra-special gift? Our complete pearl guide is here to help. We’ll talk you through the different pearl types, jewelry options and how to care for pearls.

Shop Pandora pearl jewelry

How to care for pearls

As a natural stone, pearls deserve to be treated with care. Never soak your pearls in water or rub them harshly, as this could damage the nacre. Instead, clean them with a soft cloth dampened in clean, lukewarm water, then pat dry.
Keep your pearls away from acids, solvents, ultrasonic cleaning, high temperatures or prolonged direct light, as these can damage them.

Keep your pearls looking perfect

As well as the above care tips, make sure you put your pearl jewelry on last, after any cosmetics or perfume. Your skin’s natural oils and moisture also help prevent pearls from drying out – so wearing them is a great way to keep them looking their best! Follow our easy cleaning guide for more expert guidance. From freshwater to mother of pearl, these pieces add a premium edge to your looks. Keep an eye on our latest jewellery releases by viewing our “new in” selection.

Pandora’s two types of natural pearls

Pandora natural pearl jewelry is either made from mother of pearl or treated freshwater cultured pearls. We also use lacquered artificial pearls in some jewellery styles – a laboratory-made glass ceramic that comes with a pearl-like coating.
Let’s take a closer look at what makes our natural pearl materials so special.

What is mother of pearl?

Mother of pearl (or nacre) is not an actual pearl, but the pearly inner layer found within certain mollusc shells.

How is mother of pearl made?

Mother of pearl is composed of calcium carbonate and is a protective layer created by the mollusc to defend itself from parasites.
Once the mother of pearl is cut from the shell of the mollusc, it may be treated with bleach to achieve a uniform white tone or dyed an attractive colour.


What are freshwater pearls?

Freshwater cultured pearls are organic stones that are formed in the pearl sac of a mollusc, with a helping hand from humans. The pearls Pandora uses are treated after harvesting to enhance their colour by bleaching or dying, then perfected with a lustre-enhancing treatment.


How are freshwater cultured pearls made?

Freshwater cultured pearls are produced inside oysters or other molluscs. The pearl farmer starts the process by carefully inserting an irritant inside the shell. The mollusc then starts to cover it with multiple layers of nacre until it’s completely enclosed and creates a pearl.

Our favourite pearl facts

Fact 1 of 4

Symbolising love, happiness and success

Pearls have always been associated with love, happiness and success, right back to the days of Cleopatra. Today, pearls still hold just as much beauty and fascination and are often given as a gift to a loved one.

Fact 2 of 4

Revered for their unique beauty

Since the very first time a human discovered a pearl treasure hidden within a shell, pearls have been admired for their unique beauty. Historically, pearls were very rare and only available to the very wealthy. Today, scientific innovation has made them more accessible, so we can all wear their lustrous glow on our jewelry.

Fact 3 of 4

Each pearl is unique

No two pearls are the same. They’re naturally formed and require no cutting, faceting or polishing, though they’re often worked to fit a piece of jewellery.

Fact 4 of 4

All shapes, all colours

Pearls come in an array of different shapes, colours and sizes, like whole round and blister pearls, and are formed in both fresh and salt water.

How to wear freshwater pearls

The versatility of pearl jewelry means there’s a way to style them for any occasion. Whether you need an everyday jewelry combination or you’re heading to a wedding, pearls are the answer. Here are our favorite pearl styling tips:

How to judge pearl quality

The value of a pearl is affected by six factors:

1. Lustre 

2. Blemishes 

3. Shape 

4. Color 

5. Size  

6. Matching

Fact 1 of 6

Surface luster

A pearl’s surface luster measures its brilliance and reflectivity, meaning how shiny or dull it is. The thickness and quality of the nacre influence the luster. Typically, the thicker the nacre, the greater the glow.

Fact 2 of 6

Surface blemishes

This plays an essential role in the valuation of pearls: the fewer the surface blemishes, the higher the value. Blemishes are visible bumps, marks, imperfections or small indentations on the surface, giving each pearl a unique “fingerprint”.

Fact 3 of 6

Pearl shape

Pearls shapes are divided into three broad categories:
1. Spherical (round) 
2. Symmetrical (balanced and regular)  
3. Baroque (irregular or abstract) 
Round is the rarest shape, making it the most valuable.

Fact 4 of 6

Pearl colour

Pearl colour refers to the body colour and overtone. Some pearls also show the colour phenomenon known as “orient” – the shimmering, iridescent colours that seem to move and glimmer when you turn the pearl in your hand.

Fact 5 of 6

Pearl size

The larger the pearl size, the greater its value. Large pearls not only require larger molluscs to produce them, but they also need more time to develop, depending on the size of the pearl’s nucleus.

Fact 6 of 6

Matching pearls

Each pearl is unique. They’re carefully sorted by colour, size and shape, so when more than one is used in a jewellery design, they can be matched to ensure symmetry. Look for jewellery pieces with pearls that match closely for a higher value.

Pandora pearl jewelry

Pandora pearl jewellery is crafted with care, creating timeless pieces you’ll wear on repeat. Treat yourself to pearl drop earrings or surprise that special someone with a pearl necklace.
Whether mother of pearl or freshwater, find pearl jewellery that matches your personal style. Create a fresh, cool-toned look with sterling silver, or choose 14k gold-plated pieces for a warm, sophisticated glow.

Pandora pearl jewelry sets

Show your appreciation with pearl jewelry sets. Whether you’re looking for a wedding or anniversary gift (or a special surprise, just because!), our sets offer a complete jewelry look.