As you spend time exploring the world of pearl necklaces, and other jewelry, you will find there are many different aspects to consider before making an important purchase.
Specifically, when it comes to the area of pearl necklaces, you must be aware of the many kinds of pearl necklaces. On RingsForWomen.org we will write articles regarding the most popular styles including; black pearl necklace, floating pearl necklace, pearl choker necklace, pearl strand necklace, oyster pearl necklace, Akoya pearl necklace and more.
What are cultured pearl necklaces and what are Natural pearl necklaces?
It is a commonly mistaken fact that most pearls that are sold in jewelry stores come from the ocean and were created under natural circumstances. Because only about one in ten-thousand saltwater oysters will actually form the pearl, almost all pearls are “cultured” in pearl farms with the help of humans. The value of a true, natural pearl can vary greatly based on size and age. It is also very uncommon for a natural pearl to be perfectly round; many times they will be flat on one side or oblong in shape.
I keep hearing about “Akoya” pearl necklaces. What are they?
The Akoya pearl is one that has cultured in the Pintada fucata martensiior Akoya oyster. These are generally regarded as the most “classic” of pearl and are known for the best cluster of any other kind of pearls. Until recently most Akoya pearls came from Japan, but now China has stepped up production of the Akoya pearl and has overtaken the Japanese companies in this area.
What is the most expensive pearl necklace ever sold?
While there is no official answer to the “most expensive” pearl necklace ever sold, certainly the Baroda Pearls would be near the top. The necklace was auctioned for a record 7.1 million dollars in 2007 and is comprised of double-strand of 68 pearls. The pearl necklace was originally owned by the Gaekwad of Baroda, whose family ruled the Indian state from the mid-eighteenth century until the late 1940s. Interestingly, the same dynasty also owned the “Star of the South”, and 128-carat Brazilian diamond found in 1853.
How Can I Tell If A Pearl Necklace Is Real?
There are several ways to determine whether or not a pearl or set of pearls is real. One of the most common is known as the “sun test”. Real pearls are not all perfectly even in color or overtones. Because they are created over dozens of years in the deep of the ocean, no one pearl is the same. When looking closely at pearls under bright sunlight, or even some brighter indoor lighting, you should be able to see differences in their color and iridescence. If the set of pearls you are looking at are all identical, down to the color and small lines, it is probably a fake.
If you are in the market for very expensive pearls and want to make sure your purchase is authentic, we strongly recommend using the services of a gemologist. One of these experts can very easily discern a true pearl from a fake and will provide a certificate stating so for around one-hundred fifty dollars. There are also several trust-worth discount pearl dealers available as well who will provide a certificate of authenticity when you buy from them. Some of the best places to buy natural, expensive pearls are in the Asia market, which is easily accessible from connecting flights to Honolulu and other South Pacific airports.
Tips on Finding a Discounted Pearl Necklace
For many young women, getting that first pearl necklace is an important step towards becoming a woman. Whether it is a choker pearl necklace or an exquisite black pearl necklace, this first purchase can be a memorable transaction. In fact, many mothers will hand down their first set of pearls to their daughter and so one. If you haven’t been that fortunate and are looking for your first pearl necklace, we have some ideas that may help.
Many younger women who cannot afford a complete set of pearls will consider a synthetic pearl necklace. These pearls are not as expensive as a cultured pearl necklace and are available at most mainline retailers such as Sears, Target, and Amazon. In addition to being more affordable, synthetic pearl necklaces can come in many more colors than standard pearls and will even be available in different shapes.
If you are looking to buy that first pearl necklace, and have a passion for jewelry as a whole you may want to consider a career in jewelry sales or design. Like most retailers, jewelry stores will give a generous employee discount, and you may be even able to buy slightly flawed jewelry if and when it comes into the store. One young lady we know was able to buy a $5,000 pearl necklace earrings set for just under three-hundred dollars because one of the earring clasps was broken. The store was unable to sell it because of the flaw, but because they knew this employee’s love for pearls was able to offer it to her. This also is a perfect opportunity to stress the importance of learning about basic care and upkeep of your pearl necklace.
Along the same lines, you can also do some learning about becoming a pearl wholesale buyer and seller. This path would require a certain amount of seed money to get started, but many times people not only build their own jewelry collection this way but start a side business as well. Do some research on the internet about your local pearl wholesale markets, and don’t be surprised if you may have to travel a bit to find one. There are several wholesale markets in the US, but the most popular are in west coast cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
If you enjoy traveling anyway, you may consider a trip to Japan where a large number of pearls are cultured. Again, search the internet for small pearl retailers in Tokyo, and don’t be afraid to ask your hotel concierge his or her recommendation. If you buy a more expensive pearl necklace while overseas don’t forget to factor in the customs charge when you return home.
In this economy, many people are looking for their first pearl necklace at a discounted price. That means many others may be willing to part with a pearl necklace as well. Don’t forget to check auction websites like Amazon.
Basic Pearl Necklace Care
Once you own your first pearl necklace, you will see how much notice it can bring to you at formal occasions such as wedding, parties or fundraisers. However, a dirty or uncared for a string of pearls is obvious. However, taking a few precautions whenever you wear your pearl strand necklace can make sure the precious gemstones always look their best.
First, keep in mind that pearls are much softer than other jewelry gems such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds and more. Make sure you always keep your black pearl necklace, and other pearl necklaces, safe in special cases where they won’t come in contact with any other jewelry. It may seem unlikely, but pearls can become deformed when consistently lying under the weight of other items.
Also, when wearing your pearls make sure you put them on after applying all perfumes, lotions and body sprays. Go out of your way to make sure your skin is clean, and avoid putting perfumes on your neck where the pearls will lie. Because pearls are soft and delicate they will quickly lose their unique shine when exposed to acids, human sweat, and other chemicals.
Almost all jewelry doesn’t react to shock well, and pearls are no different. Do not wear pearls if you will be running, jogging or doing other activities that will create a bouncing or knocking motion between your skin and necklace.
Don’t ever bathe or swim with pearls on, especially pearl necklace earrings, as the chemicals in soaps and even chlorinated water can harm them. In addition, do not expose pearls to direct sunlight. They will quickly fade and lose their unique luster.
After an event that calls for wearing your pearl choker necklace or pearl necklace earrings set, you should remove them as soon as you arrive home. Take a very soft damp cloth and gently wipe the pearls to remove any extra body oils from the surface. Even if the person you purchased your pearl jewelry from says you can use some sort of cleaning solution, don’t. Simply wipe them clean, let the air dry on the cloth and then return to their holding box or drawer. Again, remember not to store pearls in the same container or drawer as other jewelry.
Following these simple steps, and using common sense, can assure your pearl necklaces will stay bright and beautiful as long as possible. Once you have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on an Akoya pearl necklace, or other pearl jewelry, you should take care of it for life.
Editorial Note: This article was written with multiple pearl necklaces in mind including choker pearl necklaces, Akoya pearl necklaces, and others. However, please make sure you seek your own personal recommendations before deciding on a course of action in regards to pearl necklace care. It is always best to store jewelry in systems designed for that purpose, and not in CD storage drawers, or other boxes or racks.
There is nothing prettier than creamy, lustrous pearl strands. Of course, there are many types of pearls to choose from. After you’ve decided to take the plunge and get some for yourself, how do you choose the right ones for you? Cost is often the determining factor, so I will outline the different types of pearls and their cost relative to one another.
First, what are pearls?
Pearls are deposits of hard calcium carbonate that form naturally in the soft tissue of shelled mollusks. The calcium forms in concentric layers around a small, often microscopic foreign object that lodges in the inner soft tissue of the mollusk. Pearls formed naturally in the wild are extremely rare, and are very valuable. Since the cost of natural pearls is prohibitive for most people, I will not include them in this article.
Most pearls sold today are cultured pearls or pearls that have been grown in farms. To create a cultured pearl, a small piece of tissue from a donor shell is placed inside a recipient shell. A pearl sac forms and calcium carbonate begins for form around the sac, eventually forming a new pearl. Sometimes a small bead is placed inside the shell also, to help with the formation of the pearl.
Types of Cultured Pearls
Saltwater pearls – The nacreous pearl oyster is most used for growing saltwater pearls. Nacre is the iridescent coating on the inside of certain mollusks, which also forms the pearl. Most saltwater pearls are created with beads, and they tend to take on the shape of the shell bead used. Usually, only a few layers of calcium carbonate are formed around the bead before they are harvested. Akoya pearls, white and golden South Sea and Black Tahiti are trade names used for most saltwater pearls.
Freshwater pearls – Nacreous freshwater pearl mollusks are used for growing cultured freshwater pearls. They are solid nacre, with no bead center to them. They are not as round as saltwater pearls because of this, and they don’t have as much luster as saltwater pearls. They are generally less expensive, and so are very popular for making designer costume jewelry. Most freshwater cultured pearls today come from China and are known as Chinese cultured pearls.
How is Pearl’s Value Determined?
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) values pearls according to 7 standards, called the GIA 7 Pearl Value Factors: Pearl species, shape, surface, color, nacre thickness, matching, and luster. Luster, or the reflective quality, is probably the most important of those qualities. As mentioned above, saltwater pearls have more luster than freshwater pearls. When shopping for a pearl strand, ask to see the GIA report which will tell you how the pearls in the strand have been rated.
Pearl Necklace Price
When you are choosing what type of pearl strand necklace you want, keep in mind the price you want to pay. Natural pearls will cost the most since they are very rare, and saltwater cultured pearls will cost more than freshwater pearls. Of course, all pearls are beautiful and will look marvelous with just about any other type of jewelry, such as cubic zirconia rings and even vintage jewelry. Have fun shopping, and my theory on this subject is, why stop at just one strand when there are so many beautiful pearl strand necklaces available?
Take Your Breath Away With a Black Pearl Necklace
A black pearl necklace is one of the most beautiful things you will ever see. Black pearls seem to radiate with a beautiful blue-black metallic glow that comes from within. An entire necklace of high-quality black pearls will take your breath away! It is no wonder they are so sought after. Caution should be taken when shopping for an expensive piece of jewelry, and understanding a few facts about black pearls will help you immensely when you decide to get one for yourself.
Black pearls are rarely found in the wild, and so most black pearls are now cultured in farms. Polynesia is currently the center of pearl farming in the world, with several hundred farms operating that produce approximately one million pearls annually, about 120,000 of which are black pearls. The original pearl farms were situated near Tahiti, and when you shop for your necklace, a dealer may call it a Tahitian black pearls necklace.
Black pearls come from a specific mollusk, the Pinctada margaritifera oyster. Most cultured pearls, including black pearls, take 3 years to form. Many factors can influence the quality of the black pearl. Water temperature and overstocking of the oyster beds can affect the plankton that the oysters eat, and can cause algae to grow that will kill the oysters. Deep blue-black metallic pearls that are perfectly round with no flaws are worth the most. Even one small flaw will cause the value of a black pearl to be much less than those with no flaws. The luster on the pearls is the most important consideration, however. Luster is the amount of light that is reflected from the layers nacre (the substance secreted by the oyster that forms the pearl). The thicker the layers of nacre are, the better the luster of the pearl will be.
It is not unheard of for the highest quality black pearl necklace to cost $50,000. A black pearl necklace will be more expensive the larger the pearls are. Just a 1mm increase in the size of the pearls can increase the price of a black pearl necklace by more than 100 percent. A string of black pearls in a baroque (not absolutely round) shape is a good way to save money. You can still get good quality pearls, just at a lower price than all round pearls will be. They can be found online for $1000 and up. Always insist on seeing a gemological certificate for the necklace, and that applies for black pearl earrings as well as a black pearl necklace. Sometimes a dealer will also provide an on-the-spot X-ray for you to see the thickness of the nacre, which determines the cluster, and thus the price of a pearl.
As versatile as they are, you will be able to wear them with anything in your wardrobe or jewelry collection, like your other pearl strands and your cubic zirconia rings. Always do some research before purchasing an expensive black pearl necklace and make sure you shop with a reputable dealer. That way you will be sure to get what you pay for, and you will have a beautiful black pearl necklace that will take your breath away for years to come!
Pearl Rings: What You Need to Know
Pearl rings are absolutely stunning in the right setting. The best thing about pearls, in my opinion, is that they enhance rather than overpower the beauty of their wearer – and that’s exactly as it should be. However, as much as I love them, I have to admit that pearl rings do have some disadvantages when compared to other gems. This shouldn’t stop you from buying one if you truly love pearls, but it’s wise to be fully informed before you make your purchase. There are ways to negate or compensate for all of the negatives.
Interestingly enough, even though pearls, in general, are less expensive than, say, diamonds, pearl rings can be much more expensive because they are fragile and therefore difficult to set. It’s important to choose the right setting so that your initial expense won’t go to waste. There are two options that are generally considered safe for pearls: a bezel or a cup. Bezel settings will hold your pearl securely in place; however, you may find that this is a drawback if you need to replace the pearl down the road (and you most likely will). A cup will make replacement easier but you need to make sure that it has a secure grip. If you buy online, reputable dealers will often show pictures of their pearls and/or settings to buyers on request, and will also offer advice. Don’t hesitate to ask them for more information! This applies to brick-and-mortar jewelers as well.
While a pearl necklace can be worn every day with little risk, rings and bracelets are much more likely to suffer from daily wear and tear. If you work with your hands, please don’t wear your ring to work! Pearls are between 2.5-4.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning they are fairly delicate. While they won’t actually break or crack easily, they will scratch and scuff if you bump them. To minimize damage simply be careful, take them off by handling only the metal part of the ring, and avoid cleansers or chemicals. Pearls also tend to take on a more gold or creamy color as they age – there is nothing you can do about this, unfortunately.
I hope the disadvantages don’t discourage you too much. I really do love pearl rings! As I mentioned above, I like them more than diamonds. If I were to buy a ring, I would make sure to choose a type of pearl with a thicker layer of nacre so that the pearl won’t be so quickly damaged. This means choosing freshwater (because they are all nacre), Tahitian, or South Sea pearls. I don’t necessarily recommend Akoya for these because they aren’t as durable and are more expensive. I would also get more than one pearl for your ring so that you can replace the original when you need to. Finally, remember that many retailers will sell you the pearl and ring setting separately so you can hunt down the perfect combination for you.
Why Buy a Pearl Necklace?
I think that I should get things going by first addressing why anyone would want a pearl necklace in the first place. It’s a fact that diamonds, rubies, or even sapphires are flashier gems than pearls. However, a pearl necklace is a statement piece that, given the proper love and care, will last for generations and won’t steal the show away from where it should be – the wearer – but instead will enhance her natural beauty.
Pearl Necklaces are Elegant
Owning a pearl necklace is a sort of milestone in a girl’s life. It says that she is elegant and sophisticated. Just think of Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel, and Jackie Kennedy Onassis, all of them elegant, glamorous women and fashion icons. Because of this connotation, a beautiful strand of pearls can be used to dress up any outfit – even jeans! – and take it to the next level. Pearls also look great with gowns and formal wear, of course, and some brides may even choose to wear a pearl necklace at their weddings.
Pearl Necklaces are Versatile
When you think of pearls, you may be thinking that they are only available in white, and only as perfectly round gems. This is untrue! You can get a pearl necklace in a variety of colors and styles, from pink, lavender, black (very rare and often dyed), blue, yellow, to white. Freshwater pearls especially have a wide color range since pearl farmers are able to control the color by putting small amounts of metal in the water. There are also many options when it comes to size and shape! The most common pearl size is roughly 7mm but they can be either smaller (like rice pearls) or much much larger. Of course, the larger pearls will be more expensive. You can pick round, teardrop shaped, or baroque pearls for your pearl necklace, among others. Don’t limit yourself!
A Pearl Necklace is an Heirloom Item
If you buy a good quality necklace and give it some TLC, your pearls could last for generations to come. Many women treasure the pearl necklaces given to them by their mothers or grandmothers – wouldn’t you like to have one to pass on? It is worth it to buy natural pearls and not imitations! Faux pearls may chip, but real pearls are far more resistant to chipping and have more luster and depth. You can wear them on your wedding day – or on any other special occasion – and your daughter (or granddaughter) could wear them on hers. Think of all the memories that the necklace will invoke! Pearl necklaces are also treasured because they used to be so rare (before cultured pearls became the norm) and they still carry connotations of power, wealth, and grace.
In short, a pearl necklace is a great statement piece and heirloom, and a must-have in any woman’s jewelry collection.