The combination of surface brilliance and a deep-seated glow, the luster of a good-quality pearl should be bright, not dull.
Your reflection should be seen clearly on the surface of a pearl. Any pearl that looks too chalky or dull indicates low quality.
Cleanliness of the pearl surface refers to the absence of disfiguring spots, bumps or cracks.
A pearl with a clean surface will have a higher value than a spotted, bumpy or cracked one.
Since cultured pearls are grown by oysters and subject to the whims of Mother Nature, it is very rare to find a perfectly round pearl.
While rounder pearls are more valuable, asymmetrical, or baroque, pearls have a unique charm and are available at a more moderate cost.
Rose Silver/White Cream Gold Blue/Gray Cultured pearls occur in colors from rosé to black.
While color is a matter of preference, rosé or silver/white pearls tend to look best on fair skin tones,
while cream and gold-tone pearls are flattering to darker complexions.
Measured by their diameter in millimeters, the average cultured pearls sold today are between 7 and 71/2 millimeters.
Generally, the larger the pearl, the more valuable it will be.
Varieties of Cultured Pearls
- AKOYA – Japan and China
Akoya pearls are the classic cultured pearls of Japan. They are the most lustrous of all pearls found anywhere in the world.
In recent years, China has been successful in producing Akoya pearls within their own waters.
However, at this time they are unable to produce as brilliant a lustre as high quality Japanese Akoya cultured pearls.
- WHITE SOUTH SEA – Australia, Mynamar and Indonesia
White South Sea cultured pearls are grown in large tropical or semi-tropical oysters in Australia, Mynamar, Indonesia and other Pacific countries.
They generally range in size from 10mm to 20mm and command premium prices because of their relative rarity and large size.
- SOUTH SEA BLACK – French Polynesia
South Sea black cultured pearls are grown in a variety of large pearl oysters found primarily in French Polynesia.
Their beautiful, unique color and large size can command very high prices.
- FRESHWATER – Japan, China and the United States
Freshwater pearls are easily cultivated from freshwater mussels rather than saltwater oysters.
They are produced in great abundance, and are therefore generally the most moderately priced of all cultured pearl varieties.
Their unique shapes and gentle pastel colors make them perfect gems for those on a budget.
- MOBE PEARLS – Japan, Australia, French Polynesia, Indonesia, and the Philippines
Mabe pearls are hemispherical cultured pearls grown against the inside shell of any oyster rather than within the oyster’s body.
They are generally used in ring, earring and pendant settings which cover their flat backs or reverse side.
- KESHI PEARLS – Japan, Australia, French Polynesia, Indonesia, and the Philippines
Keshi pearls, though not nucleated cultured pearls, are created by accident as a result of the sulturing process and these
must be considered cultured pearls. Their unusual shapes and sizes are best used in unique jewelry designs.
For more information visit the official Jewelry Information Center.