Can Cultured Pearls be Naturally Colored?

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Another question from our friend Michael, “Can cultured pearls be naturally colored, or are they dyed to preference?”

Natural Pink Pearls VS. Dyed Pink Pearls

This is a great question Michael! In The Pearl Girls shop, we sell gorgeous pink pearl necklaces. I love these because they are so soft in color, and they illuminate any skin tone. Rather than a shocking, artificial pink, they have a lovely pastel color that looks natural. The pink pearls look even more natural when worn compared to how they appear against this white background!

classic single strand pink pearl bracelet, the pearl girls, southern pearl jewelry, colored pearl jewelry, essential classic pearl jewelry, hand knotted real pearl bracelet, american made pearl jewelry

Anyway, this natural pink is so much softer than the pink of dyed pearls. Now, this is a dramatization because these are imitation pearls, but check out the difference in these very unnatural pink colored pearls:

dyed pink pearls - the pearl girls

Natural Purple Pearls!

So, when you ask, “Can cultured pearls be naturally colored?” I want you to see that yes they can! Or, they can be dyed! Let’s talk about the natural colors of pearls. Have you seen my Tennessee River pearl ring? These unique purple pearls are not typically what you would expect to find with freshwater pearls. Many people do not even know that pearls come from the Tennessee River!


Pretty awesome! Most freshwater pearls do not naturally occur in this color. In fact, in the current cultured pearl industry, the majority of freshwater pearls come from China. Their natural color may be pink, white, mauve, a peachy color or shades in between. So, they are all along that spectrum.

Remember how pearls get their color? If not, check out my post on How Pearls Get their Color.

Saltwater Pearls: Tahitian & Akoya Pearls

So, in freshwater pearls, we are dealing with some pretty muted tones of pearls. There is certainly a greater variety of colors in saltwater pearls. Like these two tones of Tahitian pearls…

how pearls get their color - example of two tahitian pearls - the pearl girls

In the entire spectrum of pearls, you can find a huge variety of colors. Here are some akoya pearls, pictured below. The akoya oyster, initially cultured in Japan, now grows in the oceans off both Japan and China. These pearls can come in white, cream, yellow, silvery gray and almost bluish colors.

akoya-pearl-harvest-Can cultured pearls be naturally colored-the-pearl-girls

I would venture to say you could find a pearl in almost any color if you are wanting spontaneously produced natural pearls. Although, the very rare colors might cost you quite a lot of money!





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