The Freshwater Pearl Guide

The Freshwater Pearl Guide

The By Fairfax & Roberts Real Pearl Collection features on-trend real freshwater pearls sourced from around the world. Our skilled jewellers have created simple yet timeless pearl pieces to showcase their natural beauty. "We focus on designs that reveal the glow and lustre of each pearl while keeping true to the classic style of By Fairfax & Roberts", says Production & Quality Assurance Manager Rebekah Schembri.

How are pearls formed?

By Fairfax & Roberts are proud to use cultured freshwater pearls in our range of jewellery. Cultured freshwater pearls are real pearls, grown in a freshwater mussel that has been seeded with a small shell bead to stimulate the mussel to coat the bead in “nacre”. Nacre is the shiny surface of the freshwater pearl that is slowly built up layer over layer for several years until the pearl is large enough to harvest.  After harvest, the pearls are hand cleaned and sorted according to shape, lustre, colour and size.  They are then matched into strand lengths, drilled and hand strung on knotted silk thread.

The Freshwater Pearl Guide 

What are the different types of pearls?

Each freshwater pearl is formed naturally and is organic in shape. Although unique in their shape and size, freshwater pearls can be categorised into by a few distinct characteristics. The different types of pearls featured in the Real Pearl Collection are:




Baroque Pearls – these pearls have an organic shape often elongated, perfect for modern-styled jewellery as they have a casual feel. Each pearl is unique and one of a kind.


Circlè Pearls – pronounced “sir-clay” these pearls have a distinct characteristic of grooved rings around the pearl for appealing individuality.


Button Pearls – button pearls are often used for pearl stud earrings due to their flat bottom and domed top, they sit nicely on the ear without tilting forward.



Drop Pearls – our preferred earring shape, elongated and wider at the base than the top, elegant and timeless.



Off-Round Pearls – the classic pearl shape. Simple yet stunning pearl which is slightly off-round in symmetry. A shape that never goes out of style and can be worn both formally and casually - a wardrobe staple.



What are the pearl colour variations?

The By Fairfax & Roberts collection has been carefully created to feature a range of coloured pearls to complement any outfit with classic yet timeless styles. The collection features white and pink pearls which have developed their colour naturally during formation. All other pearls have been dyed to create a unique and individual product. The different coloured freshwater pearls in the collection are:

  • White – can range from snow white to silver white
  • Pink – soft feminine tones of rose and dusty pink which occur naturally in the formation of the pearl
  • Silver – halfway between black and white, unexpected and striking
  • Black – dark, inky tones with occasional green/purple highlights
  • Chocolate – warm chocolate hues ranging from deep brown to mocha



Care & Maintenance tips for Pearls

Pearls are organic gems. They are very soft and require special care to maintain their radiance and lustre. When not in use, preserve the beauty of pearl pieces in the By Fairfax & Roberts pouch in a cool, dry place.

The Freshwater Pearl Guide store pearls  

Pearl Care Details:

  • Gently wipe pearls with a soft, microfibre cloth after wear.
  • If required, use warm soapy water (pure soap only) to remove any makeup then ensure pearls are completely dry.
  • Avoid wearing pearls in water (salt or freshwater) as it will perish the silk. Water will perish the silk they are strung on or the adhesive used to attach them to earring fittings. The chemicals used in chlorinated water will permanently damage the finish of the pearl, resulting in a dull pearl with no lustre. 
  • Store pearls in the By Fairfax & Roberts pouch and box supplied. Avoid storing with other jewellery to prevent rubbing against other pieces that may cause scratching on the surface of the pearl.
  • Check stringing of pearls and restring when necessary. Pearls should be restrung every 24 months depending on the frequency of wear. An indication if pearls need to be restrung is by assessing the knots between each pearl. If they appear to be stretched or frayed, it’s time to restring.
  • Avoid direct contact with perfume, makeup, tanning and lotions to avoid tarnishing, marking or discolouring the pearls. If the pearls are exposed to any of these, you may wipe them over with a soft damp cloth.


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