In this article we will not bore you with detailed technical information, rather we will introduce you to the basics yet enough to help you make a wise decision on what type of pearls you should buy!
A pearl is usually produced within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk (i.e. oyster), Just like the shell of a mollusk, a pearl is composed of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has deposited in concentric layers. The ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth, but many other shapes, known as baroque can occur.
In 1893 Mr. Kokichi Mikimoto successfully created the world's first cultured pearls. Ever since then, the process known as pearl farming became very popular.
The major cultured pearl producing countries now include China, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Mexico.
Cultured pearls: Almost all pearls sold in the world today are cultured. Cultured pearls evolve in a similar manner as natural pearls, with the distinction being that cultured pearls have an irritant intentionally placed by a pearl farmer to start the formation of a pearl, the process may take one to several years. Japan, China and various places in the South Pacific have traditionally been major suppliers of cultured pearls. All pearls sold on this website are cultured pearls
Freshwater pearls are typically cheaper because freshwater mussels are larger and can produce up to 20 pearls at a time, whereas saltwater oysters are smaller and can only produce one pearl at a time.
Pearl grading: There are five main factors that decide the grade of a pearl; color, luster, shape, size, and surface quality. Although there is no universally agreed criteria/standared for grading pearls, pearl quality is usually denoted by the standard letter grading scale of C, B, A, AA and AAA with AAA being the highest quality.
Pearl size: The size can range from 5 mm to 20mm. Pearls from 5 mm to 7 mm are considered small size, from 8 to 12 mm are mid-size and those are the most popular, pearls above 12 mm are classified as large and more expensive.
We offer various types of pearls that are both rare and common. There is no set rule to purchase Pearls. It comes down in the end to your taste and budget. To help you decide what type of pearl suits your style and budget you will need to know the main pearls that are sold today and the properties and facts about each. The major four types of pearls are:
The traditional imagery of beautiful and perfectly round pearls is not always the case. Akoya has a very sharp and reflective lustrous surface, these pearls are the real classic and statement jewelry pieces. Another fact about Akoya is that they are not found in freshwater, these are typically seawater pearls. The natural color of Akoya is pure white but it can show slight rosy, bluish, and silvery tones.
These pearls are famous for their natural dark tones of black, the color range of Tahitian pearls is quite vast. These pearls show other colors and overtones like blue, green, pink, gold, and silver. Tahitian pearls are highly valued because of their rarity; the culturing process for them dictates a smaller volume output and they can never be mass-produced because, in common with most sea pearls, the oyster can only be nucleated with one pearl at a time, while freshwater mussels are capable of multiple pearl implants.
- Freshwater Pearls
Freshwater pearls are the most common pearls and quite affordable as compared to Akoya and Tahitian. These pearls exist in different colors as well (i.e. white, lavender, pink, and sometimes even metallic). Metallic Freshwater pearls are quite exotic, so their price is more expensive as compared to the rest of freshwater pearls. Another cool thing about freshwater pearls is that they can exist in several shapes including near round, oval, baroque, button, and many more.
4. South Sea Pearls
South sea pearls are extremely close in shape to Akoya and sometimes mistaken as Akoya because they are almost round, but that doesn’t mean they come in only near round shapes. South Sea pearls also exist in baroque shape. Sea pearls are considered more exotic as compared to freshwater pearls.
PEARL PROPERTIES YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR
The luster of the pearls closes the deal. Original pearls have a very lustrous appearance, such pearls can almost reflect light and are extremely bright and look high end. Imitated ones are treated and coated with materials that give them a slight shine that is nothing compared to the original pearls. The most lustrous surface out of all the pearls is the surface of Akoya. So, the better the luster the higher the price.
Another factor to determine when you are purchasing pearls is the surface. The surface of the pearl is the outer layer of the pearls and you need to know if it is clean and blemish-free, because when the pearl is real it has no visible blemishes and when it is imitated or treated it has several surface bumps, wrinkles, and blemishes.
Size is an extremely important factor when you are buying your pearl jewelry. We can say that the pearl value increases as the pearl size increases because the large-sized pearls are comparatively rarer.
When looking for pearls, most people want to stick with the traditional perfectly round pearls. The perfectly round pearls are typically Akoya and those pearls are expensive. There are several other shapes of pearls that exist naturally including baroque, pear, oval, ringed, drop, and button. All of these shapes are valuable too,
Color of the pearl can be tricky as naturally, pearls appear in various colors, and sometimes they are treated with color dyes to achieve a certain look. However, you should know that the contemporary white-colored pearls are the favorites of most of the people mainly because they are a safe choice and can be easily matched with any outfit color.