5 Things To Consider When Buying Pearls For First Time

Pearls, known as the Queens of Gems, have historically been associated with wealth and power.

While it is still not known who were the first people to discover them, pearls have been around as far back as 4200 B.C., with references to pearls being made from Egypt to Rome.

Nowadays, there are broadly two types of pearls, namely natural and cultured pearls. Natural pearls, as opposed to cultured pearls, form without any kind of human intervention when a pearl forms inside of an oyster. Both types of pearls are real and differ only in that cultured pearls involve a pearl farmer inserting a shell bead and harvesting it to obtain a pearl.  

Most of the pearls you see on the market nowadays are, in fact, cultured pearls, until and unless it expressly mentions that it is a natural pearl.

So if you are considering buying the perfect pearl jewelry piece either for yourself or your loved one, and need expert advice to guide you through the process, read this comprehensive guide to know everything you need to consider when buying pearls for the first time.

Inquire About The Origin Of The Pearl

Since cultured pearls constitute the major chunk of the retail space, it is worth asking your jeweler the origin of the said pearl. Whether you are buying Tahitian pearls that are black in color and come from French Polynesia, or Akoya pearls, which are white in color and come from Japan or China, it is very important to know the origin so that you can estimate what price to pay.

The origin will also help you to verify other factors such as color, size, and farming techniques.

Examine The Surface

As someone buying pearls, you should carefully feel and examine the surface to ascertain whether they are real or fake. Generally, the surface of a high quality pearl will be free of bumps, spots, scratches, cracks, or any other disfigurements.

You should also check for pearl luster, which is the light that reflects from the surface of the pearl. High-quality pearls have higher luster and shine, while low-quality pearls tend to be dull, more reflective, chalky, and lack the brilliance and iridescent glow of a beautiful pearl.

You can also hold the pearl at an angle and if you see a prism of rainbow colors, that is your clue to knowing that the pearl is real.

Understand The Shape

Pearls generally come in five main shapes; round, semi-round, drop, baroque, and circle-baroque. The shape of a pearl is dependent on how it was made. It is usually a good indicator of whether the pearl is real or fake as real pearls will never have sharp edges and will be smooth.

Generally, round pearls tend to be the most valuable while baroque are most affordable.

Weight And Size Of The Pearl

The weight of a pearl is measured in three units, namely carats, grains, or momme and the size of the pearl is expressed through its diameter measured in millimeters (mm). Some pearls, such as Japanese Akoya, are measured in half-millimeters.

Generally, if you want to buy a standard pearl necklace, we would recommend going for the range of 7-8 mm. Similarly, for pearl stud earrings, you can opt for anywhere between 7-10 mm for a chic and stylish choice.

Caring For Your Pearls

As pearls can be expensive, it is important that you take care of them in the best possible manner. Below are some of the best ways to care for and clean your pearls so that they last you forever.

  • Put them towards the end of your routine and avoid spraying perfume, hairspray, makeup, or any chemicals on your pearls.
  • Always store them flat to avoid the pearls from being stretched out.
  • Pearl surfaces are easily scratched, so avoid placing them in your handbag or purse, even temporarily.
  • Clean your pearls with a soft cloth after each wear or a damp cloth if they are stained. Never expose them to harsh chemicals or soak them in water.
  • Take them to a jewelry store once a year for safe cleaning.

Parting Thoughts

Pearls are a timeless addition to any jewelry collection and can be passed down through generations. They are versatile, classy, and will practically never go out of style, which makes them a fantastic long-term investment.

Just remember to have this guide with you before you go on your pearls shopping spree. This will ensure that you have all the necessary information just a click away.

Happy shopping!


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