FREE SHIPPING & FREE RETURNS | 1st CLASS USPS for orders $100+ in the US.
Timeless Beauty: How To Make Freshwater Pearl Necklaces - The Bead Traders

Timeless Beauty: How To Make Freshwater Pearl Necklaces

Pearl jewelry has been synonymous with sophistication, elegance, and beauty for centuries. Pearls have graced the neck of the Queen of England and have been popular accessories for celebrities and even presidents’ wives, such as Audrey Hepburn and the beautiful Jackie O. Their presence also communicates a measure of power and wealth due to their costly price tag. Thankfully, you can create many of these same iconic looks along with trendy new options with freshwater pearls and save a great deal of money doing so, allowing you to embrace the look of pearls without having to invest a great deal of money. The following will tell you everything you need to know about making a freshwater pearl necklace, so you can achieve this look anytime you so desire: 

How to Make a Freshwater Pearl Necklace

For this example, we will look at how to construct a simple strand of pearls, which is one of the most beloved and iconic looks. The following instructions will walk you step-by-step through the process and by the end, you will have a lovely piece of jewelry to wear to virtually any event: 

Choose Your Necklace Length and Material

The first step when constructing a necklace is to determine what length you want the necklace to be. This will vary, of course, based on if you want a full pearl necklace or just want to create a focal piece with a few pearls in a specific design. While you can use many types of materials to create your pearl look, for the sake of instruction, let’s assume you are going to stick with silk line. Keep in mind that silk does stretch, so pull the thread taut to pre-stretch it before you measure out your length. This is a standard choice for stringed pearl necklaces like we are constructing. Of course, leather, ribbon, and more can be used as well for different looks, such as when using large-holed freshwater pearls.

  • 12-13 inches: This is what is known as the collar-length necklace. It will generally lay around the middle of your neck and not have too much loose line.  
  • 14-16 inches: Known as the choker length, this is also a classic style that sits at the neck and encircles it comfortably.
  • 17-19 inches: Considered the princess length, this is one of the most common lengths for a complete pearl strand. It is ideally worn with plunging necklines.
  • 26-36 inches: This opera length hangs low around your sternum and can be stacked with other shorter lengths of pearls or worn on its own.

Keep in mind that if you want to double your line for strength (more on this below), you will need to take that into consideration when cutting your length. 

Treat Your Silk Line

As the second step after choosing your necklace length, make sure that you treat your silk line after you have measured it out and cut it off the roll to prevent deterioration. Over time, as you wear your necklace, the residue from soap and the oil from your skin will cause the silk line to weaken, which of course is not what you want. Therefore, it’s a good idea to try to prevent this by applying beeswax (small amount) on the entire length of your silk thread line that you will use to construct your necklace. Apply once, stretch the thread out, and apply a bit more. 

Double Your String

One easy way to strengthen your necklace and protect your string of freshwater pearls is to double your string. Do this by folding the thread in half and tying a knot to connect the loose ends together. If this doesn’t work for you, you can use a bead clamp to safely fasten the ends together. Of course, if you plan on doing this, you should take this into consideration when choosing your necklace length, as you will have to allow for the doubling process.

Gather Your Pearls, Prepare Your Work Area

Now comes the fun part: readying your beautiful freshwater pearls for the job at hand. Prepare for this step well, as scattered pearls throughout your house really aren’t that much fun to track down. Before starting, count your pearls in case any go missing. Then, lay a towel down in your work area to serve as a catch-all. A towel works, but if you plan on doing this again or want to be as efficient as possible, you can instead use a beading tray or mat to help keep all your tools and pearls in one area. 

Thread Your Pearls Using a Needle

Using a thin wire needle, string your pearls on your thread. Ideally, you want to choose a thread and needle that will easily fit through the pearls themselves. Before getting too far into the project, make sure and test the thickness of your thread. If the needle can’t easily pass through the hole of a pearl, then you probably will need a smaller size. Also, you don’t want it to be too small either, as then the pearls can slip over knots. If you are making a simple strand, you don’t have to be very mindful of order in terms of pearls. However, if you are trying to create a pattern or plan on using different pearls or even adding pedants, remember that you are stringing in reverse, so make sure that you keep up your pattern (and plan it out ahead of time) to ensure the placement of these focal points.

Apply a Clamshell Tip

To hold the necklace closed, and before you begin stringing your pearls, you will need to apply a clamshell tip. To do this, thread the needle through one side of the tip all the way to your knot. Dab a bit of glue on the tip to properly close off that side of the necklace line. Tie a knot (overhand knot) to separate the first pearl from the metal clamshell tip. You will want to do this because, over time, the pearl rubbing against this metal surface can deteriorate it. Therefore, by tying a knot between the first pearl and the tip, you can extend the pearls’ life.

String Your Pearls

Now that you have done all the prep work, the next step should be rewarding and fun. You can string your pearls one after another if you prefer. However, one way to help your pearls stay looking great and prevent unnecessary wear is to space them out slightly using the overhead knot. To do this, place one pearl on the silk line and then tie an overhand knot and then place the next one. If you do use the knot system to space out your pearls slightly, make sure that you tie the line tightly before moving on to the next pearl. Sometimes, tweezers can come in handy when working this precisely.

Check It, Throughout

As you construct your beautiful strand of freshwater pearls, routinely check the length and look on your neck. While you can measure it beforehand and lay it out on a table, it will look different and lay differently on your actual neck. So, before completing your necklace, be sure to check it several times throughout the process.

Attach The Other Clamshell Tip

When you are finished with your necklace, to complete your piece, attach the other side of the clamshell tip to the opposite side of the necklace. Knot the line securely and then tuck it inside the clamshell tip, if possible, to hide. Then, make sure to add some glue to ensure that the knot holds, and you do not lose your pearls.

Finish it Off With Clasps and Jump Rings

Last but not least, bend your clamshell tips open with pliers, so you can easily link in your clasps, such as lobster clasps, and the other, into a jump ring. Once you have your clasp and jump ring in place, bend the clamshell tips to close them in, then apply glue to where the tip ends and bends back into itself. This prevents your necklace from working itself loose over time.

You Did it!

If you have followed the steps to this point, you should have a beautiful freshwater pearls necklace to enjoy. Congrats, you did it!

Read more
A Dive into the World of Pearls: Freshwater vs. Saltwater - The Bead Traders

A Dive into the World of Pearls: Freshwater vs. Saltwater

When it comes to making an ideal gemstone choice you’ll cherish for years to come, it’s hard to go wrong with pearls. A pearl is a classic choice with the ability to flatter absolutely anyone. Pearls are durable and timeless with the potential to last a lifetime. They’re also strongly associated with concepts like affluence, beauty, elegance, and classic good taste.

However, you shouldn’t assume that all pearls are the same. They come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. They can also be either freshwater or saltwater. In fact, that’s the first decision you want to make if you’re in the market for pearls – freshwater pearls vs saltwater pearls. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know to make a decision you’ll be happy with.

Freshwater Pearls vs Saltwater Pearls: What Are the Key Differences?

Contrary to what many people believe, oysters aren’t the only mollusks capable of producing pearls. Alternatives like conch, clams, mussels, and abalone can produce them, as well. In fact, you’ll notice that the inside of a mollusk shell often has a similar sheen and luster to an actual pearl.

This is because a mollusk deals with irritants (like sand, parasites, or pearl farmers’ beads) that invade its shell by coating them with layer after layer of calcium carbonate – the same substance that lines the shell itself. Over time, this process results in a substance known as nacre – mother-of-pearl.

Although many different mollusks can and do produce pearls, the most common two options are saltwater oysters and freshwater mussels. Here’s a closer look at some other differences to know.

Geographic origin

Collectively speaking, pearls can originate from many different areas of the world, including but not limited to Australia, the Philippines, Fiji, Mexico, China, Japan, and Thailand. However, most freshwater pearls on the market today come from either China or Japan’s iconic Biwa Lake.

Saltwater pearls, on the other hand, typically come from carefully protected lagoons, bays, and similarly warm bodies of water located throughout Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Australia, and French Polynesia.


Although pearls are most commonly associated with the color white, they actually come in many different beautiful shades and hues. However, those colors can vary as far as freshwater pearls vs saltwater pearls.

Freshwater pearls tend to closely mirror the natural look and feel of the nacre lining the inside of a mollusk’s shell. Shell nacre can vary quite a bit, so the pearls do, as well. Light, traditional colors like white or cream are common, but so are alternatives like peach, lavender, or pink. In some cases, dye may be added to the pearl to punch up its natural color a bit.

Although saltwater pearls can be bleached to achieve the coveted white color so many people still prefer, they are often actually darker in color. Grey, blue, and similar tones are common, especially among Akoya pearls. However, saltwater pearls can also be black, green, or even deep purple, as with Tahitian pearls. Some options – like the signature pearls of the South Sea – can even be a rich silver or gold.


Saltwater pearls and freshwater pearls form via similar processes, but they also differ quite a bit due to certain variables.

For example, saltwater pearls usually form quite slowly around solid foundations like farmers’ beads or grains of sand. Meanwhile, freshwater options usually form around a biodegradable irritant that will eventually break down. In these cases, the nacre layers form quickly, making the pearl denser.

These formation differences result in differing lusters. Freshwater pearls have a soft, misty luster to them, while saltwater pearls are hyper-brilliant, sometimes even exhibiting a mirror-esque surface.


When pearls form around organic material, as with many freshwater pearls, it’s more common for the shape to be irregular and organic, as well. Alternatively, saltwater pearls usually form around round beads or similar objects, resulting in the smooth, symmetrical appearance many people associate with classic pearls.

Contrary to what some believe, the organic, unusual shape associated with many freshwater pearls is not proof that they’re naturally occurring (as opposed to cultured). Natural pearls do exist. However, they’re very rare, so most commercial pearls are the result of human intervention.

Overall value

As with other types of gemstones, scarcity has a lot to do with the value of each pearl type, and there are some pretty profound differences between freshwater and saltwater varieties.

Saltwater pearls usually originate from oysters that only produce a single pearl at a time. Many will also produce only one pearl over an entire lifetime. Naturally, these pearls are much harder to cultivate, significantly rarer, and more valuable, as a result. (Prices also reflect this.)

Meanwhile, the mussels and other mollusks responsible for freshwater pearls are usually capable of producing up to 120 pearls at one time. They’re also easier to farm, even in large quantities, so they tend to be more affordable.

There are fewer restrictions and regulations limiting the number of freshwater pearls a cultivator can produce, as well.

Freshwater Pearls vs Saltwater Pearls: Which Is a Better Choice for You?

Both saltwater and freshwater pearls are beautiful, elegant, and representative of a wonderful investment. Both make incredible gemstone choices that would flatter anyone. However, certain factors might definitely make one a better choice for a particular buyer than the other.

Here are some examples to consider when weighing your personal options:

  • Size: If you prefer bigger pearls, saltwater options might be more your speed. However, those who love the look and feel of smaller alternatives should take a closer look at freshwater.
  • Color: If you’re like most jewelry lovers, color matters when it comes to your choices. Both saltwater and freshwater options come in a variety of different tones. However, freshwater pearls tend to be lighter, while darker, more dramatic pearls are usually saltwater.
  • Shine: If you’re after a mirror-like gleam when it comes to your pearls, go for round, symmetrical saltwater pearls. However, if you love a softer, dewier glow, freshwater pearls are your choice.
  • Shape: Pearls with unusual, irregular shapes are trendier than ever right now, and you’re more likely to see those when shopping for freshwater pearls. However, if you prefer perfectly round, classic pearls, go for saltwater.
  • Budget: Price tag will naturally be a primary concern for anyone in the market for jewelry. Freshwater pearls are a much more wallet-friendly option in this regard, while saltwater pearls sometimes carry a prestige factor because of their cost.

How you plan on wearing your pearls may influence your decision, as well. Freshwater pearls make a solid option for dressing up work outfits or otherwise wearing for everyday purposes. But if you’re the type who prefers to break out the pearls only for special occasions, the flawless perfection of a saltwater pearl option may be a better choice.

Whichever option you choose as far as freshwater pearls vs saltwater pearls, one thing’s for sure. You’re making an excellent, tasteful choice you’re sure to treasure for the rest of your life. Explore your options today, and treat your style to the ultimate upgrade.

Read more
Understanding the Pros and Cons of the 5 Main Types of Pearls - The Bead Traders

Understanding the Pros and Cons of the 5 Main Types of Pearls

Pearls are a fascination that has captured humans' minds, eyes, and hearts throughout many civilizations and generations. They are known for timeless elegance, beauty, divinity, and simplicity, which add to their grace. Royalty and other classes have been known to wear pearls in various ways, including beautiful necklaces and bracelets.

Discovering  Types of Pearls

With this in mind, choosing the right pearl can be a daunting experience. You'll want a pearl that genuinely speaks to you to create a stunning, beautiful, and meaningful design.

Join us as we explore the 5 main types of pearls and the benefits of each category.

The Significance of Pearls

Pearls are not just aesthetically pleasing; they hold profound symbolic significance for many cultures worldwide, historically and today. Pearls symbolize purity, rarity, divinity, grace, femininity, and other gentle vibrations and energy forms. Pearls also represent a longing for love, wisdom, and prosperity in numerous cultures. 

Pearls were initially found ashore by very early human civilizations, so they were a fundamental design that has been passed down throughout the centuries. As they have always done, pearls are trendy for heirloom pieces but are most known to adorn brides, primarily those who preserve their traditions and wish to complement a beautiful white dress.

The 5 Main Types of Pearls

Every pearl is beautiful in its own way and can be used to craft a wide range of jewelry. Below, we will explore the 5 most common types of pearls, where they can be found, and some advantages and drawbacks of selecting them.

Akoya Pearls

When you picture the classic white bead, you most likely associate pearls with the Akoya pearl. Akoya pearls are iconic and cultivated within some Asian countries, most notably Japan and China. Akoya pearls have a brilliant luster and a round shape, making them a prized possession and highly sought-after.

The pearls are smaller than other types, making them timelessly elegant and complementing the themes of grace, wisdom, and love, which can be used in contemporary designs and their more-traditional counterparts.


  • Known for their high luster and round shape.
  • Generally smaller in size, ranging from 2mm to 10mm.


  • Can be more expensive compared to freshwater pearls.
  • Limited color range, typically white or cream with subtle overtones.

Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater pearls are well-known for their affordability and availability and are one of the most abundant types of pearls on the market. They are found within freshwater mollusks that thrive in lakes and rivers. The pearl is formed by inserting a nucleus into a mussel or oyster (or waiting for it to happen naturally), then cultured into a pearl.

Due to their abundance and diverse nature, freshwater pearls come in different shapes, sizes, hues, and colors. Freshwater pearls are perhaps the most versatile for jewelry making, allowing you to pair them with all other types of gems and designs to make a unique collection.


  • Wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes available.
  • Generally more affordable compared to saltwater pearls.
  • Cultivated in freshwater environments, making them more sustainable at a larger scale.
  • Versatile and suitable for a wide range of jewelry designs.


  • Lower luster compared to saltwater pearls.
  • Less round and symmetrical shapes compared to some saltwater pearls.

Tahitian Pearls

Chances are, you may have already heard of Tahitian pearls, even if you have never dabbled in jewelry making before. These were coveted during the late 17th and 18th centuries among traders, aristocrats, and royalty; you may know them as "black pearls." 

Tahitian pearls are cultivated in French Polynesia and are most abundantly collected from the water around the islands of Tahiti. Although they are referred to as "black pearls," there is an assortment of shades that range from dark charcoal black to even deep purple, blues, and greens. Collectors are very fond of Tahitian pearls for their luster and large size.


  • Exotic and distinctive colors, ranging from charcoal gray to peacock green.
  • Large sizes are available, with some pearls exceeding 15mm in diameter.
  • High luster and natural iridescence.
  • Rare and beautiful


  • Higher price point compared to freshwater pearls.
  • Limited availability due to the specific cultivation region.
  • Some products may have surface imperfections or irregular shapes.
  • Large size makes them a valued collector's item, but they do not fit various jewelry designs.

South Sea Pearls

South Sea pearls are beautiful, powerful, and valuable. They are perhaps the largest pearls that are available on the market. Depending on the region, the pearl can have different types of luster, sometimes presenting a satin appearance. The colors of South Sea pearls range from a silver-gray shade to creamy white and even a golden or sunshine-gold yellow.

  • Exquisite luster and satiny appearance.
  • Large sizes are available, with some pearls exceeding 20mm in diameter.
  • Highly valued for their rarity and luxurious appeal.


  • Higher price point compared to other types of pearls.
  • Limited availability due to the specific cultivation regions.

White South Sea

As a subsection of South Sea Pearls, white South Sea pearls are primarily found in the waters around Australia and some parts of Indonesia. They have a classic beauty that matches the traditional "white" elegance that ranges from creamy white to clear and radiant lusters.

Golden South Sea

Many fine jewelers and collectors frequently purchase from the waters of The Philippines and Indonesia, which hold a large assortment of yellow and gold hues.

Sea of Cortez Pearls

Sea of Cortez Pearls are unique and primarily found off the coast of Mexico. Unlike other pearls, they have a wide range of colors not typically known for traditional pearl arrangements and collections. Some pearls found within the Sea of Cortez include shades of pink, light blue, purple, and green.

These types of pearls are rare, and collectors and jewelers opt to purchase them both for display and for ornate jewelry.

  • Stunning array of natural colors, including pink, purple, blue, and green.
  • Exceptional luster and unique beauty.
  • Prized for their rarity and individuality.


  • Extremely rare
  • Not very versatile

Why are Keshi Pearls Different?

Keshi pearls are one-of-a-kind and highly sought-after pearls that are formed accidentally during the culturing process. Unlike traditional pearls, which are cultivated by intentionally inserting a nucleus into an oyster or mussel, Keshi pearls are formed as a byproduct of the culturing process when the implanted nucleus is rejected or expelled by the mollusk.

Keshi pearls are also known as "poppy-seed" pearls, which is the meaning of the Japanese word Keshi. Keshi pearls result from saltwater or freshwater pearls, most of which come from saltwater sources.

At The Bead Traders, we hold the highest quality fresh-water Keshi pearls that are unique and well-priced. We deliver only the most exquisite pearls with unmatched attention to detail and ethically sourced products.

The Bead Traders: Exquisite Pearls for Exquisite Designs

Pearls are a timeless classic that still continues to stun and amaze us. They give the wearer the confidence they need to move forward to grace, passion, and love. You must consider the best cut, shape, quality, color, and texture when selecting your pearls

At The Bead Traders, we offer a wide selection of high-quality pearls worldwide, allowing you to create exquisite jewelry pieces that stand the test of time. We only offer the best pearls that are suitable for all ranges of collections so that you can be on-time, on-trend, and on-brand.  Explore our collection today and elevate your jewelry designs with the timeless beauty of pearls.

Read more

Net Orders Checkout

Item Price Qty Total
Subtotal $0.00

Shipping Address

Shipping Methods