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 about pearls available today 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 considerations for pearl connoisseurs.

A Beginner’s Guide to Pearl Buying

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 to suit classic and modern tastes. Consider your wardrobe and skin tone when deciding on pearl color and style.

While pearls occur in all colors, traditional white ranks as the most popular and expensive. With a wide variety of treatments, pearls can be well matched in any color. However, some treatments may fade with time or wear.

If you’re shopping…