Everything you need to know about pearls

August 1st, 2019

Like any other type of gemstone, pearls come in a variety of sizes, colors and, of course, prices. They are used in all types of jewelry, including strands of pearls, rose gold pearl ring, white gold pearl earrings and everything in between. So, what do you need to know when it comes to buying pearls?

Perhaps the first thing to know is that are two major types of real pearls – natural and cultured. Both types are real gems and make beautiful jewelry. The difference is in how they are made, and that is the biggest determining factor in a pearl’s value.

As most people know, a natural pearl is made by an oyster in the ocean. An irritant gets inside the mussel’s soft tissue, which triggers a defense mechanism. The oyster secretes a protective coating known as nacre, coating the irritant and turning it into a pearl. Cultured pearls are made the same way, but the main difference is that they are grown on farms. Pearl farmers carefully insert shell bead nuclei into the oysters, which start the process of creating pearls.

Of course, there is no way to make oysters in the ocean produce pearls. Factor in ocean pollution and pearl divers who risk their lives retrieving natural pearls, and you get a rare, expensive gem. Natural pearl is so rare, in fact, that if you find one in a rose gold pearl ring, it is likely a vintage piece of jewelry. Any modern, real pearl jewelry sold today is made with cultured pearls, unless it is specifically marked as “natural pearl.”

The cultured pearls in those white gold pearl earrings can come in a variety of sizes and colors, ranging from cream and white to silver and blue to brown, green and purple.

Four main factors help determine the factor of your pearls:

Shape: Oysters rarely make perfectly round gemstones, rounder pearls coast more.

Surface: Because pearls are made by living creatures, there will be flaws. The fewer the flaws, the more valuable the pearl.

Luster: High-quality pearls will shine more and are more valuable.

Size: When all other factors are considered, size is the most important. Larger pearls are, of course, more valuable.

Whether you want a rose gold pearl ring, a pearl bracelet, white gold pearl earrings or any other pearl jewelry, come see Aiken’s Crown Jeweler – Floyd & Green. Our expert jewelers can help you find the perfect piece of pearl jewelry for your style.