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Pearl Jewellery shopping: A One-stop Guide

September 2020 | HasThemes Collaborator

It’s not surprising then that several questions need to be answered before taking the plunge and investing hundreds or even thousands of rupees into an elegant pearl necklace or pair of pearl earrings. You probably already have an idea of what kind of jewellery you want to buy (i.e. pearl necklace, earrings, full set, etc.). So, let’s focus on how to choose the right pearl type first before looping back into pearl jewellery designs, budgetary issues, and finally, selecting the right vendor where to buy pearls and so on. 

STEP 1: Choose the Right Pearl Type

So, you’ve decided that you’d like to buy an exquisite pearl necklace (or a pair of earrings), but don’t know which pearl necklace you should buy? Then there are  4 main pearl types to choose from:

  • Akoya Pearls
  • Freshwater Pearls
  • Tahitian Pearls
  • White or Golden South Sea Pearls

Each one of these pearls has its own unique beauty, size ranges, pearl colours, and budget parameters.

 STEP 2: Choose the Perfect Pearl Size

Generally, the most popular sizes are within the 7.0-9.5mm range, which is also the most traditional and versatile pearl sizes to buy. The larger the pearls, the more valuable they are. 

STEP 3: Set Your Budget

Each pearl type has its own pricing tiers, and much like diamonds, you can expect prices to increase exponentially with every millimetre size increase.  A good rule of thumb is to expect a 30-50% increase in price with each millimetre size up you go. This pricing issue is due to a variety of factors, with rarity chief among them.

STEP 4: Understanding Pearl Value Factors 

The main pearl grading factors are:

Lustre - this makes or breaks pearls as a gemstone. Lustre tells the way light reflects off the pearl surface. The sharper the Lustre, the more valuable is the pearl. 

Surface Quality – Pearls with smooth, clean surfaces are more highly valued than those with multiple inclusions. 

Symmetry of Shape – Truly round pearls are the rarest shape of all, and the most valued. After that, perfectly symmetrical semi-baroque shapes like tear-drops and ovals, then, circled baroque, and finally, free form baroque which are entirely asymmetrical. 

Colour - Pearls come in every colour of the rainbow, literally! This value factor is essential whether the colour is naturally-occurring, the depth and saturation of the colour, and the rarity of the colour. 

Size - Large, perfectly symmetrical pearls are rare. They take many years to form inside the oyster. If all other value factors are equal, the larger pearls will be the more valuable ones. 

Origin - The value of cultured (farmed) pearls that dominate the industry today vary by pearl type. We also factor in whether the pearl is cultured or natural/wild. Natural pearls - pearls that are formed without any human assistance - are scarce and command premium pricing.

STEP 5: Choose the Perfect Pearl Jewellery style

Now that you’ve read a bit about the most popular pearl sizes and selecting the perfect necklace length along with the budget estimates, it’s time to start shopping around for pearl jewellery!

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