PEARL: June Birthstone
History of Pearls
Natural Pearl vs. Cultured Pearl
TYPES OF PEARLS
- South Sea Pearls are primarily grown in Australia, Philippines and Indonesia. They range in color from white to gold. White South Sea Pearls are treasured for their size and satin luster, while Golden South Sea Pearls are among the rarest and most valuable pearls in the world. South Sea pearls are the largest saltwater pearls grown today.
- Tahitian Pearls are grown in French Polynesia and are the only pearls in the world that are naturally black. Their color ranges from light, creamy white and grey, to greens, iridescent peacock and deep black.
- Freshwater Pearls are best known for their wide range of colors, shapes, sizes and their affordable prices. They come from lakes or ponds, as opposed to saltwater from the sea.
- Akoya Pearls are the classic pearl of choice. For nearly 100 years, akoya pearls have been grown off the coast of Japan and are treasured for their perfect shape and reflective shine.
Determining the Quality of a Pearl
- LUSTER. Of the seven pearl value factors, is the most important. Luster is what gives a natural or cultured pearl its unique beauty. Pearls with high luster have sharp bright reflections on the surface and are more valuable, if all the other value factors are equal.
- NACRE THICKNESS. Luster and nacre quality are closely related. Nacre thickness is evaluated to make sure that pearls are durable as well as beautiful. Generally, the thicker the nacre, the more valuable the pearl. Thick nacre not only looks better than thin, it also is much more durable.
- SHAPE. Round is the rarest cultured pearl shape because it is the most difficult to culture. This makes it the most valuable. Oval, pear or baroque (irregularly shaped) cultured pearls are also sought after.
- SURFACE QUALITY. Like colored stones, most pearls are not perfect. Some might show scratches on the surface, a flattened section or a ridge that looks like a crease. The number of blemishes on a pearl's surface is evaluated to judge quality. Pearl is ranked 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, which means it is very soft and easily scratched.
- COLOR. Pearls have a wide range of tone from light to dark. Pearl colors tend to be muted, with a soft, subtle quality. Although white is most classic, appreciation has grown for more unusual natural colors. The pearl's color can have three components; body color, overtone and orient.
- Body color is the pearl’s overall color.
- Overtone is one or more translucent colors that are on a pearl’s body color.
- Orient is a shimmer of iridescent colors on or below a pearl’s surface. All pearls show body color, but only some show overtone, orient, or both.
- SIZE. The size of a pearl is measured across its diameter. It ranges from 1.8mm to 6mm in Natural pearls and from 3mm up to the very rare 18mm in Cultured pearls. When other value factors are equal, larger pearls are rarer and more valuable than smaller pearls of the same type.
- MATCHING. For pearl strands and multi-pearl pieces, how well the pearls match (or mix) affects the value. Jewelry designers sometimes mix colors, shapes, and sizes for unique effects.
When shopping for pearls, there are various lengths available:
- Collar fits directly against the throat
- Choker rests at the base of the neck
- Princess reaches near the collarbone
- Matinee length is usually 20-24 inches
- Opera length is 30-36 inches
- Rope is the longest length and refers to all strands longer than 36 inches
Pearl Jewelry in Boca Raton
Looking for a beautiful strand of pearls or pearl jewelry for a loved one? Come check out the selection of pearls that are available in our jewelry store at Devon's Diamonds & Decor. 502 Via de Palmas in Boca Raton, Florida.