Here is what you need to know about exotic pearls
Lying quietly beneath the turquoise tropical waters of the world’s southern oceans, some of the world’s most coveted gemstones await you.
Their subtle glow, shimmering iridescence and assortment of pastel to saturated colors will surprise and delight you … welcome to the Pure Pearls’ Exotic Pearl Collection.
What are Exotic Pearls, you ask?
Exotics include cultured Tahitian pearls from the islands of French Polynesia, Sea of Cortez pearls from Mexico and gleaming White and Golden South Sea pearls from Australia and the Philippines.
This short primer features a fantastic array of delectable photos and interesting facts about these rare gems to introduce you to the most beautiful pearls in the world.
Tahitian Pearls – Black Pearls from the Polynesian Islands
Dark and deliciously exotic, cultured Tahitian pearls are grown in the tropical lagoons and atolls of the French Polynesian islands.
- Tahitian pearls are grown in the saltwater oyster Pinctada margaritifera (isn’t that a GORGEOUS name? I love it!!) which can reach up to a foot in diameter at maturity.
- Sizes range from 8.0-9.0mm up to 16.0-17.0mm.
- All Tahitian pearls MUST have a minimum nacre thickness of 0.8mm, guaranteed. Pearls are selected at random and x-rayed by the Ministiere de Perliculture de Tahiti on a daily basis before they are allowed to be exported to the rest of the world.
- Tahitian pearls are the most famous and popular, naturally black pearls in the world.
- Body colors can be Pale Dove Greys to Very Dark Charcoals, and rarely, true Jet Blacks.
- Tahitian pearls are famous for their rainbow of colorful, iridescent overtones.
- The most famous Tahitian pearl overtones include: Peacock, Aubergine, Cherry, Chocolate/Bronze, Green and Silver.
- Shapes can be true, perfect rounds or a playful assortment of semi-baroque to free form baroque shapes.
- True, perfect rounds are the rarest pearl shape, and the most highly prized. A full strand of perfectly round pearls commands a premium price.
- The most popular baroque shapes are ovals, drops and buttons – these are all smooth, symmetrical shapes that lend an old-world, romantic feel to many jewelry designs.
- Tahitian pearl necklaces can be composed of pearls with either round, slightly off-round or baroque shapes.
- Baroque Tahitian pearl necklaces offer a lower price range of $500.00 to $1,300.00-ish, depending on pearl size, shape, surface quality and colors. Absolutely fantastic price points for an exotic pearl necklace!!
- Baroque Tahitian pearl necklaces are like snowflakes. Not one of them is the same as another. The variations in layouts, colors and shapes make them a great choice for those looking for something different.
- Splurge on the rarer Round Tahitian Pearl Necklaces, which can range from $1,500.00 to $5,000.00 or so (depending on the particulars of course!).
- Perfectly round Tahitian pearl necklaces make quite a statement. Instantly recognizable as an exotic pearl type, these strands create an air of elegance, luxury and mystery without ever saying a word.
- The majority of round Tahitian pearl necklaces will be graduated within 2.0-4.0mm; so a necklace’s measurements will look something like 9.0-12.5mm and so on. A graduated layout lowers the overall price of a necklace, as it allows the sorters to pull pearls from many different lots when creating a layout.
- Non-graduated Tahitian pearl necklaces (measurements like 10.0-11.0mm) are always graduated within 1.0mm. These layouts are more expensive, because creating a full layout of pearls matched for size, color, luster and surface quality is much harder to do.
Read my Tahitian Pearl Buying Guide for more info on these stunning gems.
White and Golden South Sea Pearls – Queen of the Pearl World
South Sea pearls are the largest and most luxurious pearl types of all. Coveted for their famously large sizes and natural colors of Golden and Silvery-White, these pearls represent some of the finest, rarest cultured pearls in the world.
- White and Golden South Sea pearls are cultured in tropical islands of the Philippines and Northern Australia.
- The pearls are grown in the Pinctada maxima saltwater oyster which can grow up to a foot in diameter!
- These pearls are known for their extraordinarily thick nacre layers – measurements of 2.0-4.0mm thick are the average, so these pearls are very durable.
- The Silver-lipped oyster produces the White South Sea pearls, and the Golden-lipped oyster creates Golden South Sea pearls.
- The large oysters produce LARGE pearls – sizes of up to 20.0mm are not unheard of (!!).
- South Sea pearls start at the small 8.0-9.0mm sizes.
- Pure Pearls regularly stocks pearls up to 16.0mm in size, with the 10.0-14.0mm size range being the most common and the most popular for pendants, rings and earrings.
- White South Sea pearls display the usual overtones of Rose, Silver and Cream/Ivory, however the majority of them are a very bright white body color with Silver overtones.
- Rose is the most rare, and features a faint pink tinge over the white primary color.
- Cream/Ivory can best be described as a tinge of French Vanilla over a warm white primary body color (great for those of us with pink undertones, red or grey hair!).
- For Golden pearls, the natural shades of Gold range from pale lemony yellows and Champagne colors (my favorite!!) to deep 22K and 24K gold hues.
- Overtones for Golden South Sea pearls are Neutral Gold, Rose, Bronze/Green and Silver.
- Pure Pearls carries a wide array of Golden South Sea pearl hues to suit every complexion.
- South Sea pearl shapes can be true, perfect rounds or a romantic array of semi-baroque to free form baroque shapes.
- Perfectly shaped round pearls are the rarest shape, and the most coveted. A full strand of perfectly round pearls commands a premium price.
The most popular baroque shapes are ovals, drops and buttons – these are all smooth, symmetrical shapes that lend an "Old-World", romantic feel to many jewelry designs.
- White or Golden South Sea pearl necklaces can feature pearls with either round, slightly off-round or baroque shapes.
- Baroque South Sea pearl necklaces offer a lower price range of $900.00 to $3,000.00, depending on pearl size, shape, surface quality and colors.
- Lower price points, and playful, artistic layouts make semi-baroque and free-form baroque South Sea pearl necklaces (like the one below) a fantastic option for pearl lovers looking for something utterly unique!
- Splurge on a fine Round South Sea pearl necklace and you’ll look and feel like a million bucks. Round South Sea strands can range from $2,500.00 to $60,000.00 or higher (depending on the particulars of course!).
- Perfectly round South Sea pearl necklaces scream luxury and elegance. Instantly recognizable, a White or Golden South Sea pearl necklace is an exotic treasure without equal.
- The majority of round South Sea pearl necklaces will be graduated within 2.0-4.0mm; so a necklace’s measurements will look something like 10.0-13.0mm and so on. A graduated layout lowers the overall price of a necklace, as it allows the sorters to pull pearls from many different lots when creating a layout.
- Non-graduated South Sea pearl necklaces (measurements like 10.0-11.0mm) are always graduated within 1.0mm. These layouts are more expensive, because creating a full layout of pearls matched for size, color, luster and surface quality is much harder to do.
Consider a slightly off-round or button-shape South Sea pearl strand to lower the price of a full strand of pearls. Slightly off-round shapes can lower the price of a strand by thousands of dollars, but still give the appearance of round pearls to the casual observer.
Sea of Cortez Pearls – The Rarest Pearls in the World
The rarest of all the exotic pearl types, Sea of Cortez pearls are the only other naturally-colored black saltwater pearls cultured in the world, but with a distinctly unique palette of colors that instantly distinguishes them from cultured Tahitian pearls.
- With less than 4,000 whole pearls produced annually, getting your hands on a Sea of Cortez pearl is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
- Grown on a small farm in Guyamas, Mexico, Sea of Cortez pearls also represent the only active cultured pearl operation in North America today.
- The pearls are cultured in the Pteria sterna, or Rainbow-Lipped saltwater oyster, which imparts bright, saturated body colors and overtones that span the spectrum.
PurePearls.com is an exclusive distributor for Sea of Cortez pearls – one of the only North American sources for both whole round and baroque pearls, as well as their famous mabé collections!
- Sea of Cortez whole pearls are available in a range of sizes from 8.0mm up to 12.0mm, with 9.0-11.0mm being the average.
- Sea of Cortez mabe pearls are much larger, with a range of organic, freeform shapes that average 13.0 x 15.0mm.
- Body colors can be Pale Dove Greys to Very Dark Charcoals, and very rarely, true Jet Blacks.
- Sea of Cortez pearls are known for their rainbow of colorful, iridescent overtones.
- Sea of Cortez pearl overtones include: Peacock, Violet, Rose/Mauve, Sky Blue, Green and Aquamarine.
Due to rarity, full length whole pearl strands are available upon special request.
Sea of Cortez pearl farm is sending Pure Pearls a once in a lifetime full strand of whole, round pearls – making its debut this August!! Stay tuned for our email showcase for details.
To Learn More About Sea of Cortez Pearls Visit: http://bit.ly/29YvI9Y
Also read: Ashley’s Interview with Douglas McLaurin, Creator of Sea of Cortez Pearls!
Throughout my time at Pure, I’ve devoted myself to selecting exotic strands that exhibit only the prettiest, most unique colors I can find for the store, so stay tuned for my next email, which will get much more in depth about what makes our Exotic Strands unique, which is mainly: COLOR, COLOR, COLOR!
My next email is going to be a beauty that you won’t want to miss.
See you soon,