Quick Guide to Pearls

When choosing pearls there are a number of things to consider besides just the quality of the pearls. While there is no right or wrong way to chose pearls, there are a few tips you should consider.

Types of Pearls

Freshwater Pearls

These pearls usually come from China and are grown in freshwater. They look very similar to Akoya pearls and cost about 1/5 of the price.

Akoya Pearls

These pearls usually come from Japan. They look similar to Freshwater pearls, the only difference is they generally have a slightly higher luster and are more symmetrical.

South Sea Pearls

These pearls usually come from Australia. They are larger than Freshwater or Akoya pearls and cost more as well.

Tahitian Pearls

These are some of the most expensive pearl jewelry you can buy. Like the South Sea pearls they are also very large.

Pearl Shape

Mabe Pearls

These are dome-shaped pearls. These pearls grew on the shell of the mollusk rather than in the middle of the body.

Baroque Pearls

These are asymmetrical pearls.

Biwa Pearls

These are pearls that were grown in Lake Biwa, Japan. Although now it can also mean any freshwater pearls grown in Japan.

Keshii Pearls / Seed Pearls

Not generally considered true pearls, they came into existence accidentally as a byproduct of the cultivation process and are very small.

Necklace Length

You can buy pearl necklaces in a number of different lengths. Generally speaking, shorter necklaces flatter long necks, while long necklaces are nice for smaller necks. The names and lengths are as follows:

  • Collar: 12-13"
  • Choker: 14-16"
  • Princess: 17-19"
  • Matinee: 20-25"
  • Opera: 26-36"
  • Rope: 37" or longer

The most popular is the Princess length since it is a good length for both long and smaller necks.

Pearl Care

Put pearls on after putting on any cosmetics so it doesn't harm your pearls. When cleaning your pearl jewelry, don't use any cleaning solution, simply wipe them with a soft cloth. Just wearing your pearls helps them too; your body's natural oils will help keep them lustrous.

Article Written By

James Dunn
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