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Question about freshwater nacre wear and tear

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  • Question about freshwater nacre wear and tear

    Hello, I have a question for the pearl experts here about freshwater pearl nacre. One of the attractions of freshwater pearls is that generally they are meant to be solid nacre (except for the newer bead nucleated ones e.g. Edison's). I take this to mean that unlike say akoyas, which some people who wear them often enough will end up with the nacre wearing through in spots showing the bead, this won't happen with a freshwater strand. My question is though is the nacre still lovely and shiny all the way through, or is there an outer few layers of acceptable nacre and as it wears down the inner layers could be uneven, or chalky, or just not as lustrous?

  • #2
    I have some gorgeous akoyas that still look beautiful after 60 years with lots of wear. But I also have some akoyas that wore down to the bead nucleus after 60 years, but they were not the best quality to begin with. Still, 60 years is a good long run for a necklace.

    With non-bead nucleated freshwaters, it's hard to say. Some pearls are so-so from the start. And some are gorgeous. As long as they have thick nacre and you're not rubbing sandpaper on them, they should look good for years to come. But start with pearls you love. So-so pearls won't get better with age. Pearls do not wear down like a bar of soap under running water. They'll stay the same size for years to come.

    Now a pearl in a ring might get a lot of abrasion, and there you might see some wear and perhaps go down a layer of nacre Each pearl is unique. One pearl may get more gorgeous if a layer wears off, and another pearl might not.


    • #3
      Thanks so much for that info BWeaves, experience sure helps. I would certainly hope they wouldn't wear down like a bar of soap! Having got the pearl bug badly i don't think I'll be wearing the one necklace daily for 60 years though... so from a truly practical standpoint it's a bit of a theoretical question!


      • #4
        There was a time when the akoyas were being left to grow for too short a time, and the nacre was too thin, and it would wear off quickly. However, you should be able to spot those pearls. Dull, chalky, thin nacre around the drill hole. They won't look as gorgeous as pearls that have been grown from a longer period of time and have a thicker nacre.