Pearl Buying Guide


A fine pearl has a beauty akin to moonlight or mist, an ephemeral quality that seems impossible for a solid object to hold. Civilizations value these gems for their mesmerizing, dreamlike essence, which has inspired symbolism and lore across cultures. As the traditional June birthstone and a popular gift for any occasion, pearls have become a wardrobe staple.

However, this popularity hides a well-kept secret. With only handfuls of natural pearls collected each year, their extreme rarity pushes the prices of these gems ever higher. Fortunately for those on a budget, their cultured equivalents are abundant and available at a wide range of prices. Nevertheless, even purchasing a simple pearl necklace requires understanding pearl quality. The amount of information available can easily overwhelm a first-time buyer. To cut through the confusion, read the following brief beginner’s guide to pearl buying before getting into quality factors for pearl connoisseurs.

A Beginner’s Guide to Pearls

First and foremost, always purchase from a trusted jeweler with a good return policy, and remember: buy what you like! With the cultured pearl industry’s innovations, you’ve never had so many pearl jewelry choices.

Color and Style

Nowadays, pearl jewelry comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors …

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Content Length 3639 words
Reading time 18 min 12 sec

Here's what you get if you unlock this article:

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Pearls
    • Color and Style
    • Pearl Size
    • Pearl Shape
    • Luster
    • Treatments and Care
  • An Advanced Guide to Pearl Buying
  • Natural vs. Cultured Pearls
    • Investment Value
  • Color
    • Body Color
    • Overtone and Orient
    • Prized and Rare Colors
  • Luster
  • Translucency
  • Nacre Thickness in Cultured Pearls
  • Shape and Symmetry
    • Pearl Shape Trends
  • Texture, Surface, or “Skin”
  • Size
  • Match
  • Simpatico
  • Cultured Pearl Types
    • Quality Factors for Different Cultured Pearls
  • Byproducts of the Cultured Pearl Industry
    • Soufflé Pearls
    • Keshi Pearls
  • Pearl Treatments
    • Bleaching
    • Dyeing
    • Irradiation
    • Heating
    • Coating
    • Tumbling and Buffing
    • Filling
    • Worked Pearls
  • Misleading Terminology
  • Imitation Pearls

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