How Are Freshwater Pearls Dyed?

How Are Freshwater Pearls Dyed?

If you're reading this, most likely, you were confused when you saw vivid-colorful pearls instead of traditional white. Well, we are the bearers of good news!

White pearls are not all there is when it comes to pearl colors. Pearls are available in a broad spectrum of colors. Some are natural, and many are dyed. 

No matter whether natural or dyed, they are REAL pearls. As long as you buy from a reputable company, that is. 

But why would anyone dye a pearl?! That feels like a sin, right? It's not. 

Not everyone likes soft pastels and whites, and with technological advancement, dyed colorful pearls have become more common. 

The most common type of dyed pearl is a Freshwater pearl. Before dying, they typically come in varying natural pastel hues like pink, peach, and lavender. These natural colors are some of their best qualities...But the lack of colors leaves people wanting more with their jewelry.

This blog is dedicated to simplifying and explaining the process of dyeing Freshwater pearls to achieve fun, lively colors. 

Before diving in, here's a little background so you know what we are discussing later.

What Are Freshwater Pearls?

These pearls are found in Freshwater mussels and are more affordable than other pearl types. 

Freshwater pearls are abundant in the global marketplace and come in classic white colors, along with pretty pastels like pink, peach, and lavender.

They're available in funky shapes like button, fireball, baroque, potato, rice, coin, heart, and star shapes, to name a few! 

Overall, they're a desirable option for beginners because of the variety of colors, shapes, and sizes and, most importantly, their affordable prices.

So, how are Freshwater pearls dyed? Keep reading to uncover this mystery. 

The Pearl-Dyeing Process

There are different ways to dye a Freshwater pearl. 

Method 1: Darkening the nacre (nay-ker) of a pearl

This process, called Irradiation, is used to alter the pearl nacre's color to make it brighter and more prominent. 

Irradiation includes the use of gamma rays. The pearls are heated over time. An alternative is to use bright fluorescent or UV lights to treat the pearls.

The result is an enhanced pearl color. The pearls are gently washed without any soap or detergents as they can harm the surface of these gemstones. 

Method 2: Dyeing pearls into a different color

It's relatively easy to dye a strand of Freshwater. The methods are easy to follow to achieve a desired-colored pearl. 

The first step in any pearl-dyeing process is to wash them carefully with water and soap. This is to remove oils from the surface that could hinder color deposition. This means it makes it easier for the pearl to retain its color.

Then, the washed pearls are air-dried for approximately two hours before the dyeing process starts. Those who dye pearls are cautioned to avoid rubbing them too hard as they could potentially harm the pearl’s surface. 

This process is called ‘The Dye Bath Method.’ 

They collect all the material that’s needed to dye the pearls. This includes the dye itself; it could be any purchased dye from the store. Some use the nibs of colored permanent markers mixed with alcohol as a dye. 

Next, they place paper towels into a glass pan or bowl. This ensures that pearls are dyed thoroughly without missing a spot when pouring the dye. 

Then comes the next step, where they either dunk the Freshwater pearls into a bowl full of dye or place them into the glass pan/bowl and pour over the dye. 

The pearls will be continually checked to see how the color is deposited on them.

If the desired color is a lighter hue, the pearls are taken out after a few minutes. To achieve a bright-colored pearl, the pearl is left in much longer until the desired hue is achieved. This is how a dark-colored pearl would be made.

The Bottom Line

Since Freshwater pearls are light in density, they're easy to dye to achieve desired colors that don't naturally occur in pearls. 

If you are looking to purchase dyed Freshwater pearls, check out DezLin!

We are a family and US veteran-owned business from Lodi, California. We have a wide range of fun-colored Freshwater pearls that'll make an excellent addition to your collection.


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