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How To Buy Pearls

How To Buy Pearls

Pearls are a timeless gem that will always look elegant and beautiful, but many people don't know where to start when it comes to selecting a gorgeous pearl necklace or earrings. This guide will educate you on the best way to find the right pearls for you

What Type of Pearl Should I Buy?

Below is a brief description of the four main types of pearls commonly found on the retail market. Most people are not aware of the wide range of colors, sizes, shapes and price ranges available so take some time and acquaint yourself with the various pearl types. Follow the links for more in-depth information.

Akoya Pearls

Size Range: 6.0-9.5mm
Price Range: $69-$8,500
Origin: Japan, China, Vietnam

About Akoya Pearls
Shop For Akoya Pearls
how to buy akoya pearls

Akoya pearls will be slightly more expensive, ranging from $69 for a pair of earrings, to a few thousand dollars for a high quality necklace. Akoya pearls are saltwater pearls from Japan, China and most recently Vietnam. They are known for being perfectly round, highly lustrous and available in flattering shades of white with luminous overtones of Silver, Rose and Cream. Sizes range from 6.0-6.5mm up to 9.0-9.5mm.

Freshwater Pearls

Size Range: 6.0-11.5mm
Price Range: $45-$1,500
Origin: China

About Freshwater Pearls
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how to buy freshwater pearls

Freshwater pearls are the least expensive of all pearl types, with the majority of items costing $500 or less. Available in natural colors of white, pink/peach, lavender and even a daring and dramatic dyed black, Freshwater pearls are bright, colorful and budget friendly. Their sizes range from about 6.0mm-11.5mm and even 12.0mm.

South Sea Pearls

Size Range: 9.0-20.0mm
Price Range: $300-$40,000
Origin: Australia, Indonesia

About South Sea Pearls
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how to buy South Sea Pearls

Lustrous and luxuriant, White and Golden South Sea pearls are the most expensive of all pearl types. They can start around $700.00 for a medium-quality strand of non-round baroque pearls, and as high as $30,000 to $40,000 for a high quality strand of perfectly round pearls. Even small earrings, like our 8.0-9.0mm pearl studs start at $375.00 or so. Available in natural shades of silver, rose, cream and rich hues of gold, South Sea pearls get more expensive with certain, sought after colors like deep 24k gold tone for Golden South Sea and natural Rose overtones for White South Sea varieties.

Tahitian Pearls

Size Range: 8.0-16.0mm
Price Range: $300-$10,000
Origin: French Polynesia

About Tahitian Pearls
Shop For Tahitian Pearls
how to buy tahitian pearls

Tahitian pearls from French Polynesia are in a higher price range as well. A pair of well-matched, perfectly round earrings starts at about $300.00 for the smallest 8.0-9.0mm size range. Tahitian pearl prices can vary widely depending on whether or not the pearls are round or baroque. Baroque Tahitians are pearls that are drop-shaped, heavily circled and/or asymmetrical. Prices for baroque pearl necklaces begin around $500.00 and can get as high as $1,500.00. Round Tahitian pearl necklaces generally start at $1,000.00 and can get as high as $10,000.00, depending on the quality and size of the pearls.

What Factors Affect Pearl Prices?

The main pearl attributes like size, color, luster, shape and surface quality will affect price. Here is a quick run-down to help you better understand how to buy the pearl perfect pearls.

Pearl Size

Pearl Sizes
You don't want to purchase pearls that are too large for the wearer, or are so small that they underwhelm her. The most popular range to stay within is 7.5mm-9.5mm for most round, white pearls, as these sizes are the most versatile and proportional for the majority of body types. For young girls, we recommend the 6.0-7.0mm sizes as the most age-appropriate. Because Tahitian and South Sea pearls are naturally larger, we recommend staying within size ranges of 9.0-13.0mm to maintain a healthy proportion and a larger selection to choose from.

Pearls are much like diamonds in that they get exponentially more expensive the larger they get. For example, a high quality strand of 9.0-9.5mm Akoya pearls will cost 10xs the cost of similar 6.0-6.5mm pearls, so that is something to keep in mind when shopping for a high quality pearl necklace. Size matters! Learn More About Pearl Size

Pearl Shapes

various shapes of pearls

As a rule of thumb, perfectly round pearls will carry a higher value than off-round or baroque shapes. Perfectly round pearls represent only 10-30% of each harvest, so they are more rare. Symmetrical, off-round shapes like drop shapes also command higher prices, and then the unique, heavily circled baroques are valued last.

Pearl Colors

pearl colors

Pearls come in a rainbow of colors, so this is really just a matter of personal preference. However, some colors or overtones will be more valued than others. For example, a Champagne-colored Golden South Sea pearl will be much less expensive than a 24k gold pearl. Rose overtones on White South Sea pearls are rare, so a Rose-toned White South Sea pearl will fetch a premium price. Learn More About Pearl Color

Pearl Surface Quality

pearl surface quality

Pearls are graded on the A-AAA scale, with AAA being the very highest grade. AAA quality pearls will have smooth surfaces, unblemished to the naked eye. Pure Pearls.com rates a AAA quality pearl as being 95-100% eye-clean. AA+ quality pearls may show some deviance from a truly round shape, and will be 90-95% eye-clean.

What is Eye Clean?

The term 'eye-clean' is an industry term that simply means that a pearl (or diamond or other gemstone) displays no noticeable inclusions visible to the eye from a distance of 6 to 12-inches. This generally means that the casual observer will not be able to view inclusions when at a conversational distance. Learn More About Pearl Surface

Pearl Luster

Lustrous pearls are prized pearls. The deeper and more intense the luster is, the more valued the pearl is. Look for pearls that display reflected light sources as crisp, clean and delineated, with only slight blurring around the edges. You should also be able to recognize some of your facial features reflected in the surface of the pearl. AAA quality pearls feature the best luster, AA+ quality pearls should have Very High luster and so on. Learn More About Pearl Luster

Pearl Buying Tips

  • Purchase pearls from a reputable online dealer that has at least a 30 day return policy. PurePearls.com offers an Iron Clad 90-Day Return and Exchange Policy to ensure that you are happy with our pearls.
  • Choose a higher quality over size. We recommend that if you're choosing between an Elite Collection 7.0-8.0mm strand and a AA+ quality 9.0-10.0mm necklace, you'll find that the higher luster, smoother surface quality and all around prettier pearls will be the better value.
  • Brand names like Mikimoto will mean great pearls, not a great price. Brands have premiums attached to them that can add as much as 300-400% to the price. PurePearls.com sources from the same pearl farms as many big name brands without the costly overhead associated with big box store names.
  • The most popular necklace length is the 18-inch, Princess length. This necklace will drape over the collar bones, and hang about 1.5-2-inches below the hollow of the throat- perfect for a variety of necklines. The 16-inch choker is the next most popular and is designed to lay over the hollow in the throat and is great for high necklines and boat necks. Women who have a flair for fashion may prefer the 36-inch Opera length, or one of our endless ropes that allow them to layer multiple times and even knot in the middle, Gatsby-style.

No matter which pearl necklace you choose , PurePearls.com is committed to you receiving pearls you're sure to treasure for a lifetime! If you have further questions about our pearls or our services, please don't hesitate to contact us at 800-7620-0977. Our caring and knowledgeable staff is ready to answer any question or concern.
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