How to Buy the Best Pearls For Your Money With These 6 Tips!
Pearls are the one piece of jewelry that’s timeless and can be worn with nearly anything in your wardrobe. With these 6 tips, I will show you how to buy the best pearls for your dollar. Stop overpaying for low quality pearls, and learn here what to look for the next time you want to purchase good quality pearls and get the best deal going.
Here are the important things to look for, and think about when shopping for pearls –
– Grade – A, AA+
– Shape – round, near round, oval, drop, baroque, circle
– Luster – shiny with a nice reflection or no luster & chalky looking
– Surface Quality – how clean is the surface?
– Size – how big or small is the pearl, measured in mm’s
– Type – natural, cultured, freshwater, saltwater or imitation
Pearls are graded based on their overall quality, including surface quality and luster. A pearl with heavy blemishing such as cracks, pits and no luster would be a very low grade pearl, and would be something you should not purchase. A pearl such as this should not be sold in a jewelry store, as it does not meet the standards of good quality pearls, and would not even be an ‘A’ quality pearl, or gem quality pearl, but a beading quality pearl.
In the industry there is no set standard that everyone follows, however most companies follow an ‘A’ to ‘AA+’ standard. ‘A’ quality is the lowest, but certainly nothing to sneeze at, and ‘AA+’ is the highest with amazing luster, and little to no surface blemishes, and round in shape. Every company is different, so it’s best to look around to see what the differences are in what the value the companies offer with quality for dollar, each is going to be different.
The most costly pearls are those that are completely round and uniform, as it is much more difficult to produce a round pearl, so in turn you will pay more for one. It seems much more common to find pearls that are in many shapes and sizes, as many people are no longer looking for only round pearls but also baroque, stick, drop, and other shapes. The nacre quality can be just as nice on a pearl that isn’t round, but another shape, and can be better value for your money.
This is the ‘shine’ that is associated with the pearls which is their inner glow. A high luster pearl will often be described as a having a mirror like finish. Low luster pearls will have a foggy appearance, and look very chalky. Low luster pearls will not have any shine. The higher the luster, the better the pearl, always try and get the highest luster you can within your budget.
The surface quality is another important factor when looking at pearls and trying to gauge their quality, the cleaner the surface of a pearl, the better. Of course with pearls being a natural product (even a cultured pearl), flawless pearls are very high to come by and when you do see them, a premium is charged. Small imperfections on the surface of pearls are natural, what you want to avoid are pearls with pits on the surface, cracks or peeling nacre, all of these are big no’s. If you have to buy a smaller pearl than you would like to, it is worth it to have a good quality pearl that will last much longer if cared for properly.
Pearls are available in a wide array of sizes from seed pearls, which are only 1mm in size to pearls that reach 20mm’s. Most common sizes of pearls are from 5-6mm up to 12mm. A rule of thumb is that the bigger the pearls are, the bigger the price tag. If a pearl is large, round, has a flawless surface, and has great luster, that is the optimum pearl and a very, very expensive one!
There are different kinds available, each with their own unique set of characteristics. The most difficult ones to find today are natural pearls. The majority available in today’s market are cultured pearls. A cultured pearl is still ‘real’, however it has been helped by man to create it. Cultured pieces are just as beautiful, if not more beautiful. The different kinds of pearls available are Freshwater, Saltwater, Tahitian, South Sea, and Imitation. All of these are ‘real’ except for the imitation, which is simply that – fake. Although they are made to look real, they are made of plastic and other materials to give them a similar weight, and feel. Aside from imitation, the most affordable among those are Freshwater pearls, which are real. With so many Freshwater pearls available in the market, and so much selection and different qualities to choose from, the Freshwater pearls are very reasonably priced and really nice.
The best place to start when deciding to get jewelry is to figure out what your budget is. When it comes to pearls, the sky really is the limit. There are SO many different kinds available at many different price points. If you have an idea what kind of price range you would like to stay in, then searching for the perfect strand or set will be that much easier to do.