Pearls – All you need to know about buying pearls….

Pearls -all you need to know about buying pearls. 

Molluscs which produce natural pearls, are very, very rare these days, and if there are any around you need lots of € or $ to buy one. We are in the time of  cultured pearls. So that means they are grown or cultured  with some input from us, usually in pearl farms. There are two types of cultured pearls. The freshwater cultured pearls -grown in freshwater ponds, lakes, streams, and the sea water cultured pearls, grown lagoons and sheltered coves in the sea.

Freshwater pearls

Freshwater pearls are very available, easier to grow, and great value. But the seawater cousins are fabulous pearls with deep lustre, large size and luxurious look. So, is it better to go for the sea water pearls -the Akoyas, South Sea, Tahitian? Well, the big difference is the price. They are around 8 to 10 times the price of Freshwater pearls, so you would be paying a lot more, and maybe would not really see the difference?

We believe the trick is to look for and find great quality freshwater pearls. And what to look for in Freshwater pearls?  Well, the GIA (Gemological Institure of America  and yes we have a graduate with a Diploma in pearls from them) set out the quality points in choosing pearls.   Their value and price are largely dependent on a series of factors that we will detail here. These are:

 Size-For necklaces you want 6-7 mm for a small pearl and 10-11 mm for a classic large pearl necklace. Some pearls now are really big and look great. We have some 12mm Baroque pearls which are stunning. But get familiar with what is 5mm or 10 mm and then you can judge what size suit you.

Shape-a small percentage of pearls grown are perfectly round. These tend to cost more than the off round pearls. So decide if you want perfect round pearls on your necklace or bracelet or earrings or if you like the slightly off round shapes, which for many give a pearl a more authentic look and is more interesting. There are also button, drop, oval, and baroque shapes.

Colour-pearls come in a variety of colours: white, grey, black, silver, cream and brown and a range of different hues of each variety. The most common colour is white or cream. Many of the freshwater pearls that come in a variety of colours may have been dyed.


Woman wearing freshwater pearl necklaceLustre or luster-the intensity of the light reflected off the surface of the pearl.  Luster is the key for a good pearl. It’s what gives a pearl that special look-it’s what you want a pearl to be good at. As we said before the Sea water pearls tend to have great luster – but not guaranteed. Freshwater ones can also have great luster-you just need to look for it. Avoid chalky looking surfaces on your pearls.

Surface-have a close look at the surface of the pearl.You will see some small blemishes. The classification is: clean, lightly spotted, moderately spotted, heavily spotted. The better the surface, the better the pearl and the more expensive it is.

Nacre thickness– is the surface chalky, can you see a bead through the nacre or is it clear and glowing? Freshwater pearls are all nacre.

Matching-how well are the pearls matched for a piece of jewellery? Excellent to poor. 

Look around for the best deals. Make sure you are buying from someone who knows about pearls and the quality points. We check the quality and  bring these into our workshop for our jewellery. As you can see we have a variety of freshwater pearls and a range of prices. So if you want to know what a really good freshwater pearl looks like then go to our top of the range necklace and see the quality points. If you want to see a really good quality but not all the exact same shaped pearls then look at our 10-11 mm classic pearl necklace.  But all our pearls are chosen for their quality at a certain price point. You just need to choose what you like and then enjoy wearing an organic gem which will last your lifetime.