Buying Pearls: What to Consider


We all know that the gem of the sea is the pearl. If you’re wanting to purchase a classic pearl necklace for that someone special in your life but you’re not sure where to start, then read on.

Natural VS Cultured Pearls

Naturally occurring pearls are extremely rare. They are created in the ocean and it can take many many oysters just to form one pearl necklace. With ocean pollution rising, oyster divers and natural predators they are increasingly hard to find. So, pearls you find on the market today are usually cultured pearls.

Cultured pearls are still genuine pearls. They’re produced by an oyster or mollusk, but they require human assistance. There are two main types, freshwater and saltwater.

Value Factors of a Pearl

When it comes to actually choosing which pearls to buy you need to know the value factors, just like you would when purchasing a diamond.

For pearls, the four main value factors are:

  • Shape
  • Size
  • Lustre
  • Surface

Shape: Perfectly round pearls are rarer which makes them more valuable. Baroque and off-round pearls offer something more unique which might be more suited to your taste. Most importantly, pearls are beautiful in all shapes they come in; it’s just down to personal taste.

Luster: The surface of a pearl will have a mirror-like sheen and shine. A high quality pearl will have a higher luster, meaning it will ‘pop’ and stand out more.

Surface: As well as considering the pearls luster, you will need to also check the surface. As a natural stone, it will not be without its imperfections. Obviously the less spots, scratches or wrinkles the surface has the more expensive it will be.

Size: The price of a pearl increases with its size.

Different Types of Pearls

Most of us are aware of the traditional round white pearls, but did you know that there are other pearls too?

South Sea Pearls: Ranging from deep golden and silky silver tones, south sea pearls are among the most rare and valuable.

Freshwater Pearls: Freshwater pearls have the largest range in colour, from pinks to shades of purple. Out of other cultured pearls, they also offer a large selection of shapes and sizes.

Akoya Pearls: White and round with cream, silver and rose tones, they’re the classic pearl we’re all used to seeing. They boast the highest luster of all cultured pearls available.

Tahitian Pearls: Naturally black pearls that are almost always perfectly round, these offer something vastly different to the traditional Akoya pearls. Their colour can range from light silver to deep greens. They’re rare, so be prepared to spend more.

Once you’ve chosen your perfect sea gem, make sure to protect it with insurance. Contact us today to get a free, no obligation quote.