Important Tips for Buying Pearls


culturedpearl While diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, the beloved pearl has its own special place in a woman’s jewelry box. The pearl, the most delicate and humble of embellishments, has been used as jewelry and adornment for centuries.

Before they were cultured, pearls were very rare and they were limited to the use of nobility. Fortunately, today pearls can be appreciated by everyone.

Purchasing pearls may prove difficult if you are unfamiliar with the various pearl classifications.  So what should you consider before you purchase any kind of pearl jewelry?  Start by looking at the label and confirming that it provides the type of pearl, along with other necessary information (e.g. grade, shape, size).

There are three types of pearls you can choose from: natural, cultured and glass pearls. Being the most valuable of the three, natural pearls are the most expensive.

To the untrained eye, cultured pearls look almost identical to natural pearls; they are however less valuable than natural pearls. Glass pearls are of even less value and are used for cheap, imitation jewelry.

Natural pearls are rare and finding jewelry with natural pearls is difficult. Generally, pearls found in jewelry shops are cultured.  Akoya, Freshwater, Black Tahitian, White and Gold South Sea are all different types of cultured pearls.

If you decide to purchase glass pearls, you should be aware that over time and with use the luster and finish will fade away.  The dye will also crumble, as the layer of dye is usually very thin. These signs of wear and age will increase with frequency of usage.

Pearls are a classic beauty; Akoya pearls are round with a reflective luster. They are available in three colors: a traditional silver-blue, crème and rosy. These are the most popular pearl for use in jewelry and the most treasured by women.

Delicately colored Freshwater pearls come in soft pastels with unbelievable hues. Tahitian pearls, come in a variety of colors, but are more known for their bold shapes.

The largest pearls are White or Golden South Sea pearls, and they are highly valued for their size. Their eye-catching, yet subtle, silver and golden tones make these a popular pearl choice.

Remember these tips when buying pearls. Beware of jewelry stores that offer unbelievable deals. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Generally, non-round shapes such as tear drop and rice pearls are less expensive.

Baroque pearls are even less expensive because they are less popular than standard pearls. Akoya pearls are the priciest of all cultured pearls. When purchasing from a jewelry shop that utilizes the A to AAA grading system, be sure to check the value of the pearl on the label and take a close look at the pearls.

Remember, the highest ratings are AAA, A+ and A++. A rating of AAAA or AAA+ is a fraudulent rating.  Also be sure to check for strong jewelry clasps and knots on jewelry.  They are necessary to prevent pearls from rubbing together or becoming lost.