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Freshwater Pearl Jewellery

How pearls are made

clean water, bright pearls

Freshwater pearl jewellery uses freshwater or river pearls cultured inside the shell of large mussels in freshwater, unlike oyster pearls which are farmed in salt water. To produce the beautiful pearls we use today, the mussels need clear clean unpolluted fresh water.

The lakes, rivers and former rice-paddies of Asia are ideal for producing the biggest, stronger, lustrous and most beautiful pearls and consequently we have built up good relationships with suppliers and pearl farmers in this region of the world so that we can purchase pearls from people we trust and know for quality and reliability.

Every pearl is unique and this is especially true of baroque or irregular pearls where the amazing shapes and contours make for very striking jewellery.

Harriet Whinney how pearls are made

How pearl jewellery is made

traditional techniques

Stringing pearls is an art learned over many years and many thousands of necklaces. Harriet Whinney Pearls use traditional, full knotted restringing to refresh, restore and preserve the life and quality of your pearls. We recommend restringing your Harriet Whinney Pearls every two years if you love wearing them regularly.

Our professional stringers, knotting by hand, place an evenly sized knot between each pearl while handling multiple strands of silk and pearls. Each item is treated with a great deal of care so that you receive back a beautiful, perfectly balanced piece of jewellery. The overall design needs to be retained while the order can be re-sorted if requested. The tiny drill holes in the pearls are examined to ensure the correct size threads. Stringing requires cool hands and a calm manner to keep the tension and focus constant throughout the process. We finish our hand strung pearl necklaces with fine French wire called gimp which links the pearls to the clasp.

NB. We only restring pearls purchased from Harriet Whinney Pearls Ltd. Please contact us if you need an item restrung as we can not guarantee that we will be able to help you. We work with professional stringers based in the UK and can put you in touch with them.

Harriet Whinney how pearl jewellery is made

Caring for your pearls

expert advice, personal service

Natural body oils moisturise pearls as they lie on your skin. They warm to body temperature yet feel like ice when left in the cool. Traditionally, a lady’s maid would wear her pearls to maintain their lustre and condition. Pearls are not as fragile as one may expect so do wear them every day if you want to. However, here are some simple guidelines to help you care for your pearls.

  • Put your pearls on after you have applied hairspray or perfume.
  • Avoid putting beauty products on them as these contain alcohol and chemicals.
  • Never dip your pearls in jewellery cleaning fluid.
  • Showering in pearls dampens and blackens the interior silk threads of a necklace while it can dislodge the pearl from its setting in earrings.
  • Remove your earrings by holding the setting, not the pearl.
Harriet Whinney caring for your pearls


pearls of wisdom

Are pearls a good gift for Christmas?

Are pearls a good gift for Christmas?

Yes, pearls are a good gift for any time of the year, from birthdays to Christmas to weddings. Traditionally, fathers gave daughters pearls as Coming Of Age gifts and mothers gave daughters pearls for significant birthdays and as a wedding gift. There must have been...

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Best Lockdown Gift Ideas

Best Lockdown Gift Ideas

We may be in quarantine but we still need help with the best lockdown gift ideas. Whether it’s for a birthday or to mark an occasion, pearls can be popped in one of our beautiful silk pouches and sent securely through the post direct to the lucky recipient. Video...

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When can you wear pearls?

When can you wear pearls?

The etiquette on wearing a pearl necklace during the day, traditionally, is to wear a single pearl stand with a blouse. Over the years, as with so many things, the rules have gone out the window and pearls are no exception! The joy of owning pearl necklaces is that...

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