How To Find Stunning Pearls for Your Big Day at Up to 80% off Retail Prices
Pearls are the perfect complement to any wedding dress or ensemble. They’re timeless, gorgeous, and look great on your wedding day and for many years after.
However, there’s a wide range of pearl jewelry available for brides and bridesmaids — much of it low-quality and over-priced. In fact, most pearl jewelry from big bridal retailers doesn’t even contain real pearls. Instead, they use coated glass to create white orbs that roughly look like a pearl from a distance.
Such pieces are typically inexpensive — often under $100, but still overpriced for what they are. In fact, in that same price range you could get a set of real pearls from an online boutique like Pure Pearls.
Below we’ll walk you through the best pearl bridal jewelry sets in each category, including:
Get Luxury-Grade Pearls At 80% Off Retail
If you want pearls that will look amazing on your wedding day AND for decades afterwards, this is the category for you. All the pearl jewelry sets listed below are high quality, real pearls that will look stunning in pictures, as you’re walking down the aisle, and up close.
All of the sets in this section feature one of two kinds of pearls:
Either one works very well for a wedding, so the choice depends on your preference and budget. Freshwater are a little more casual and versatile, and Akoyas a bit more formal. Both will look fantastic on your wedding day or during special occasions after your wedding.
This is one of our best-selling sets for brides — and for good reason. The 7.0-7.5mm size is incredibly versatile, and the AAA grade offers a great mixture of quality and affordability.
Or, Just Get the Necklace and Earrings
If you don’t want a bracelet, you can just buy the necklace and earrings for a surprisingly low price.
This set will compete with offerings from many high-end pearl brands, while offering a tremendous value.
This next set is sold as two separate units, which gives you a bit more flexibility to mix and match.
First, take a look at the pendant. Pendants are versatile and flexible — you can mix pearls with diamonds or other gemstones to match your dress, or get a real pearl that would otherwise be out of your price range.
Take this pendant for example:
It features dazzling, high-quality diamonds and a large 9-10mm freshwater pearl. A full string of 9-10mm pearls would typically cost thousands, but this piece is a tenth of the price.
This combo will make your pearls pop and add some visual interest to your outfit without being overwhelming.
For earrings, we’d recommend this set of simple, 9mm Freshwater pearls. They match the necklace’s pearl size perfectly and offer elegant simplicity that works with any dress or style.
If you want a step up in terms of shine and overall presence, try this set of matching Akoya pearls. This set again features a popular and versatile 7.5-8mm size, and comes in a variety of lengths that work for any dress or neckline.
If you’d rather forego the bracelet, try the necklace-earring set (identical in every way, with the exception of the bracelet).
In general, Akoyas are a bit more expensive because they’re considered a high-end gem and will elevate your entire wedding ensemble. Still, when you buy from Pure Pearls you’ll save up to 80% on ultra-luxury prices, and get pearls that can compete with much more expensive labels.
This akoya pendant is another one of our most popular designs, and for good reason. With a single diamond accent and ornate jewelry work, this pendant exudes wedding-day elegance.
Pair the pendant with matching dangle earrings to round out the set.
These ultra-luxury brands create pearl jewelry that’s high quality and comes with a price tag to match. Like most designer brands, you pay for the label.
Quite frankly, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between pearls from these brands and ours here at Pure Pearls. If you want ultra-premium jewelry (think $50,000 per necklace or more), these brands may offer the best selection. But such pieces are likely overkill — even for your wedding day.
Mikimoto is arguably the highest-end pearl brand. They’ve been selling pearls exclusively for over a hundred years and are known for offering ultra high-end pearls that no other brand can match. In recent years they’ve expanded to offer more relatively affordable pieces, but they’re still untouchable for most consumers.
For reference, the sets we list below are all in the affordable Mikimoto range, and start at about $5000 for a necklace and earrings.
This set features a simple pendant by Mikimoto standards, which brings the price down to a reasonable (for Mikimoto) $2000 for the pendant and $3000 for the earrings.
The second Mikimoto combo we’ll look at is from the Embrace line. This line features more ornate jewelry work to complement their high-end Akoyas.
Note: At the time of writing the white earrings from the embrace line were out of stock on the Mikimoto website. We list J.R. Dunn as an alternate source, but be sure to check the Akoya site for updates.
No list of Mikimotos would be complete without a string of high-end pearls. This set comes in at $5800, which is inexpensive for Mikimoto. If you’d like to upgrade, Mikimoto offers strings of pearls up to $50,000 or more as well — just check out their website to learn more.
Tiffany is known for their high-end jewelry work and signature blue box. And while they’re not known primarily for pearls, they do generally offer high-quality pieces with unique designs. You’ll again be paying for the label here, but if you like ornate jewelry, Tiffany is worth a look.
This first set is classic Tiffany. Notice the super-premium metals (platinum), diamonds, and ornate jewelry work. Also notice the high-end materials are combined with relatively entry-level Freshwater pearls. The pearls aren’t necessarily the centerpiece of the collection, but still fit beautifully into the greater whole.
Earrings are the star of this bridal jewelry set — notice the diamond-pearl combo that’s simple and elegant but a just bit unique. The necklace is a perfect match to the earrings, but not an exceptional value, especially compared to similar offerings from our shop at Pure Pearls.
Our final Tiffany bridal jewelry set comes from the Ziegfeld collection and features a string of freshwater pearls and studs to match. This is the perfect set if you want the classic Tiffany clasp and blue box with small, subdued pearls.
If you’re on a shoestring budget and have your heart set on including pearls in your wedding aesthetic, these sets are worth a look.
None of these pearls will offer the same presence, luster, or shine as a set of real pearls. Plus the build quality of the jewelry will suffer — these pieces are only meant for a single use or a few lighter uses (e.g. on your wedding and a few major anniversaries).
All the pieces from wedding industry giant David’s Bridal feature imitation pearls and cubic zirconia rather than diamonds. Here are a few selections that might be worth a look on the cheaper end of the spectrum:
Get a halo of cubic zirconia stones surrounding imitation pearls.
Or try a leaf-themed necklace with faux-pearls and pear-cut diamonds:
And finally, a floral variation on the leaf-theme:
Similar to David’s bridal, Anna Bellagio’s offerings feature cubic zirconia and glass pearls. But unlike David’s bridal, these prices creep over $100 (even close to $200), making a real pearl set a more appealing option 99% of the time.
For a floral look try the Camelia faux-pearl set:
Or for a unique set of faux-pearls twisted to create a multi-layer necklace go for the Paulina:
Finally, the Primrose set is the exception in the Anna Bellagio lineup that features real freshwater pearls. These pearls still manage to sneak under $100 due to their oblong and irregular shapes, which wouldn’t meet the quality standards of most pearl brands.
Unlike the previous budget selections, Dareth Colburn features real freshwater pearls in all of their sets. The pearls are small, low-quality and visibly irregular in size and shape even from a distance, but they’re also inexpensive.
Note: Unlike what the Dareth Colburn site says, freshwater pearls aren’t supposed to be irregular in shape and size. In fact, shape and uniformity are both prized features in all types of pearls, including Freshwater.
This set features simple drop (oblong) pearls in both the necklace and earrings. Notice the ridges on the face of the pearls and mismatched shapes. Ridges like this are most commonly seen in Tahitian pearls, which are associated with a bold, casual aesthetic.
Freshwater pearls are typically more refined, and so don’t usually come in baroque styles. Imperfections do help keep the price down though.
Dareth Colburn’s “Modern Freshwater” set features pearls of all shapes and sizes. These don’t count as baroque, but are simply mismatched, leading to rock-bottom prices.
For just under $50 you can get this set of oblong, off-white pearls matched with floral cubic zirconia crystals. This set is similar in quality to other pieces from Dareth Colburn, but with a more unique floral design.
Quality and value varies highly from seller to seller when you shop on Etsy. Most listings we’ve seen feature budget-friendly, crafting-grade pearls, but you may find a diamond in the rough once in a while (so to speak).
You’ll likely get a slightly better deal on Etsy if you shop highly-rated stores, but none of the jewelry will hold a candle to higher-end options.
For a dirt-cheap $25 you can buy a set of crystal and ivory-colored glass pearls. The seller and listing both have solid reviews.
For a bit more, you can get a unique earring and necklace pattern from a Star Etsy seller. We recommend the standard 18” princess length, which brings the price to right around $68.
Finally, if you want a back-drop necklace (a necklace with a decorative strand that hangs down your back), try this selection.
Here are a few questions we commonly hear from brides about pearls and their big day.
Pearls symbolize wisdom, purity, love, and loyalty — all helpful characteristics for a healthy marriage. They’re especially fitting in the classic white, as white symbolizes purity and goes perfectly with traditional wedding attire.
Pearls are absolutely appropriate for a wedding. In fact, along with diamonds, they’re one of the best and most traditional choices for a wedding celebration due to their classic, timeless elegance.
For example, check out this image of a 1920s wedding:
Notice the string of classic pearls. Brides have been wearing pearls for decades — and will continue to do so for decades to come.
If you’re going to wear pearls on your wedding day, it pays to do a little research up front. Pearl grading especially can be a bit confusing, so even 15 minutes of reading is a great investment to help you find a set of pearls you’ll love and appreciate for years to come.
The best place to start is reading a bit about the four main types of pearls and how they’re graded:
The four main types of pearls include Freshwater, Akoya, South Sea, and Tahitian pearls:
The pearl grading system is much harder to navigate than any other gem, including diamonds. This is partly because pearls are graded on seven standard criteria, and partly because the specific pearl grading scale varies from company to company.
For example, Tiffany’s A-grade pearls are NOT equivalent in quality to Mikimoto’s. In fact, Mikimoto’s A and A+ pearls are closer in quality to most other brands’ AAA pieces.
Most brands use some version of the A-AAAA grading scale, but these grades are only useful for comparing pearls from one brand. Grades do NOT transfer across brands.
To really understand how pearls from different brands compare, you’ll need to read up on the grading criteria from each brand you’re considering. Read our guide to pearl grading to learn more.
Shop Pure Pearls’ full collection of luxury grade pearls at up to 80% off retail:
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