Buying Your First Pearls

If you’re new to pearl jewelry, shopping for the perfect piece can be very intimidating. There are so many styles, and the prices have an incredibly wide range. How do you know what to look for? Whether you’re just looking for your first pair of pearl earrings, or looking to accessorize for your upcoming wedding, here is a quick overview that might help.

Pearls sold in the retail market today are “cultured pearls.” Natural pearls are labeled as such, as they are much more rare and valuable. Lots of people think cultured pearls is just another name for freshwater pearls, but in fact freshwater pearls are only one type of cultured pearls. There are actually four types: Akoya pearls, Freshwater pearls, Tahitian pearls and South Sea pearls. Cultured pearls can range from $30 to over $3,000 in price.

Akoya pearls are the classic white pearls. They can have overtones of pink, cream and silver, and can be cultured in black as well. They are perfectly round, and range in size from 5mm to 11mm. Akoya pearls cost between $61 and $3,000.

Diamond Akoya Pearl Bracelet Pearl and Clasp

South Sea pearls are large, ranging between 9mm and 18mm. They come in dark silver, champagne and a dark gold, which is considered quite rare. These pearls can be round, near round or baroque, and cost from $399 to $30,000.

Tahitian pearls are the exotic, dark colored pearls. They are the only ones to achieve a black body color naturally, and come in round, near round and baroque shapes. They range in price from $120 to $10,000.

Tahitian Pearl Necklace Pearl and Clasp

Freshwater pearls come in numerous colors, including white, pink and purple. Their size range is quite wide, from 2mm to 18mm, and they come in round, near round, button and baroque shapes. They cost between $69 and $1,500.

Now that you know a bit about the different types of pearls, here are some tips before you head out to buy the perfect strand:

Only buy from a store with a return policy. You want to make sure you like how your pearls look in natural light, which may not be possible to check in a store.

Purchase your pearls from a retailer who specializes in the gem, like us! Lots of jewelers lack knowledge on the topic and won’t be able to provide you with enough accurate information about the products you admire.

Don’t go for brand names. There are plenty of pearl retailers who can provide premium quality pearls without the high prices that come along with popular brand names. Do your research, and you may save hundreds of dollars.

That’s all for now, good luck!

Happy shopping,



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