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Your Ultimate Guide to Choose your Perfect Pearl(s)

Extraordinary and glamorous. Your Ultimate Guide to Choose your Perfect Pearls. Women and men have worn Pearls for Centuries. Pearls have been a representative of beauty and elegance for a very long time. When used in jewelry they add grace and splendor to it. Whether you want to buy them for a loved one to express your affection and love or want to get them for yourself to feel special and confident. Pearls are wholesome in every sense. Even though they are very well-known among the general public little do people know about what they are made of.

Olivia Culpo poses in layers of elegant and timeless south sea pearls
Olivia Culpo poses in layers of elegant and timeless south sea pearls.

What are pearls?

To begin with, there are two kinds of pearls currently available; natural and cultured. The pearls are formed when the layers of mollusk’s nacre and the oyster’s shell come in contact. The difference between the two pearls is related to the mollusk. In the natural pearls, mollusk belongs to some other organism living in the water while in the cultured pearls mollusk is manually inserted in the form of a tiny bead.

Due to the rarity, natural pearls are hard to find as most of these have already been harvested and used. The cultured pearls, however, are widely available for you to choose from.

Things to check for while evaluating a pearl:

It can be a little tricky to choose the perfect pearl for yourself due to its various characteristics. However, we bring you a very simple guide to help you in selecting the best one.

Luster: Gauging the level of luster is the first step. For this, you need to see how shiny or reflective the surface of the pearl is. The shinier it is, the more beautiful and usually more expensive it is.

Surface quality: A pearl is considered more valuable if it is devoid of blemishes or imperfections. The smoother it is, the better.

Shape: Even though round pearls are more precious yet pearls come in various shapes to suit the choice of the consumer. The pearls naturally take up a certain shape due to the oyster or the mussel and hence takes various shapes such as baroque, button, drop and circle. However, the rounder the pearl the more treasured it is.

Size: Although, pearls range in sizes, the bigger the pearl would be, the more expensive it would get but it depends on your choice really what you would prefer to buy depending on what you are buying it for.

Color: Pearls come in various colors to match your preferences but there are also natural, non-treated pearls for you to choose from.

Price range: For most of us, choosing the pearl comes down to choosing one that falls in our budget. This has to be a very important factor since pearls range from being only $50 to hundreds of dollars all depending on their rarity and uniqueness.

While some of these aspects can help you in making the right choice for your pearl(s), there is much more to it. From these basic steps now we will move on to the various different ways you can use the pearls so that choosing the best pearl is easier for you.

Different ways to wear pearls:

When it comes to styling a pearl, there are at least three different ways you can consider before you make a decision on buying it. Pearls used in jewelry can be styled in the following ways:

Earrings and Studs: The first and foremost choice of wearing pearls is usually styling them as earrings or studs. They are usually worn as studs on the pierced ears and contain only the matched pearls. They do not only look elegant but add grace to the overall attire. More gemstones and gold can be worn with them but usually, a single pearl on each earlobe works.

Rings: Pearls are also used in making rings which usually feature a pearl in the center. This makes the ring eye-catching, attractive and timeless. In order to choose a pearl for a ring, the size of the ring in which it is to be worn has to be measured and the size of the pearl accordingly chosen.

Necklaces and Bracelets: Pearl necklaces are a timeless piece of jewelry that has been worn by generations in the same way. Whether it is worn by a 60-year old or a teenager, a strand of pearl around the neck looks equally graceful, elegant and pretty. It is this particular quality that makes pearls a choice of so many people all over the world.

Before making a selection it is important that you are sure of the jewelry style. From this point onwards, you can now make decisions on the type of pearl you need to complete your look.

Different types of pearls:

Just like there are various gemstones each known for its unique characteristics and uses, there are also different kinds of pearls available for you to choose from.

14K White Gold Akoya Cultured Pearl Ball Clasp 18 inches Necklace

Saltwater pearls:
These pearls are produced when salt-water oysters are implanted with mollusks. Salt-water pearls are grown and harvested in various parts of the world including China, Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia, Tahiti, and Australia. The various varieties of these salt-water pearls include Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian, and pearls. These cultured pearls come in a range of sizes varying from 2mm to 15mm and are mostly round in shape.

The majority of them are white or cream-colored while the Tahitian pearls can also be black. Their luster varies as well. Hence, before making a final call to purchase these pearls you should consider having a close look. Moreover, these pearls also take longer to cultivate and, therefore, are more expensive. Let shave a look at Tahitian and South Sea pearls in particular:

14K White Gold Tahitian Cultured Pearl and Diamond Drop Earrings

Tahitian pearls:
Also known as the Tahiti pearls, these pearls have black color naturally. You might also find them categorized under black, gray or chocolate Tahitian pearls. In addition to that strange yet stunning appearance, they may also have a secondary hue of green, blue or purple. Ranging from 8mm to 18mm these pearls are mostly round in shape but can also be baroque or circle styles having circular rings around them.

With a beautiful vibrant luster, these pearls are a favorite for those who prefer colored pearls. Even though these pearls are expensive than most of the pearls, they are being cultivated in a way that can make them cheaper. Moreover, they are much loved in jewelry pieces including necklaces and bracelets.

South sea pearls: Cultured and harvested in Myanmar, Philippines, Australia and Indonesia, these sea-water pearls range in size from 10mm to 20mm. These pearls are considered to be of high-quality possessing a white or golden color. Due to their high-level of luster, these pearls tend to stand out from the rest of the sea-water pearls. Since they are the most-loved pearls among the family of cultured pearls, they are more expensive yet they make the jewelry pieces stand out with their luster and smooth finish.

Freshwater pearls: Cultured in the freshwater of rivers and lakes, these pearls are found in China and are sometimes sold as Chinese freshwater pearls. From being white to pastel in color, freshwater pearls also offer ample luster for jewelry pieces. Even though the shine is slightly less than that of the sea-water pearls, it is not as noticeable.

These pearls also come in round shape usually but are also found in oval or teardrop shapes. Moreover, since they take less time to be cultured, these pearls are usually less expensive. They also, therefore, result in amazing yet affordable jewelry that can become a part of your everyday style.

There is not much difference in the appearance of sea-water and freshwater pearls. The luster is not that different to be noticed either. Therefore, choosing a pearl from these actually comes down to your preference of color, shape, size, availability, and affordability.

Takeaways from this guide:

From this simple guide, we hope that you have taken some key points with you before you make a final selection for the pearl you want to wear. For you, we have listed down the few vital steps you need to consider before you make your shopping trip to buy some pearls whether loose or in a jewelry piece.

Beginning from the various shapes, sizes, colors and luster. These pearls can also differ from their place and time of cultivation along with their price range. Choosing the perfect pearl eventually boils down to how you would like to wear it and make it a part of your wardrobe. While jewelry is the most common way through which people can possess and adorn pearls, they can also be stitched onto clothes. Furthermore they can be used in other crafts that you can place around your house or living room as well.

Since these pearls do not as such vary in appearance, your budget constraint and preference will guide your decision. With these key takeaways, we are very hopeful that your next shopping trip for the pearls will be more insightful, and woke to result in smarter decisions.

Disclaimer: We may earn money from links on this page, but we only recommend products and retailers we love. Promise.

James Allen Diamonds, Inc. is one of the top few online jewelry retailer out there I would recommend without hesitation. If you are looking for that diamond sparkler in an engagement ring for your loved one, or that gorgeous pearl necklace, then you come to the right place. They do have great customer service, great quality, and great value.
Check the online reviews if you don’t believe me, but remember: Nobody is perfect!


I worked in the jewelry industry for many years where I combined my passion and training with my knowledge of jewelry. Creativity has always been at the heart of my life. I want the pieces that I create bring joy to people and make them a little happier. I’m a maker by nature and I’m not happy unless I’m creating something.

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