If you are new to the world of pearls, you have probably taken a look at the prices of different stores or websites and you are confused, since the prices are very different.
If you spend a few minutes with me, I promise to solve all your doubts.
The first confusion that we must clear up is that what you see in jewelry stores are cultured pearls, not natural. The cultivation or incentive of oysters to create pearls is a practice that has been carried out for more than 100 years, although it is true that natural pearls exist, they are extremely rare and a natural pearl necklace of acceptable quality it can cost over a million dollars.
Having clarified this, let's go on to explain the reasons why there are cultured pearl necklaces for just 100 euros and others for hundreds of thousands.
To understand this, it is necessary that you first know the 7 quality factors of pearls.
The value of a pearl is determined by the combination of 7 factors that determine its quality, and in addition, its origin must also be taken into account.
Let's start with the factors.
How much are pearls worth according to their quality?
Remember that it is the combination of the 7 factors that determines how much the pearls cost.
- Shine: The intensity of light reflected from the surface of a pearl. We mention the brightness first, because we consider it very important, if a pearl does not shine, it is not of quality. Other things being equal, the brighter a pearl is, the more valuable it is.
- Size: Detailed in millimeters and up to two decimal places. The larger a pearl is, the higher its value.
You can find pearls from 2mm to more than 30mm
- Shape: Referred to as Round, Half Round, Oval, Button, Drop, Semi-Baroque and Baroque. Pearls that do not fall into these categories are described by the shape they appear, for example, coin pearls are so called because they are shaped like a coin. As a general rule, the rounder a pearl is, the higher its value.
- Surface: The number, size, and location of blemishes in a pearl. The fewer imperfections, of smaller size and in a smaller percentage of its surface that a pearl presents, the greater its value.
- Color: While color does not affect the quality of a pearl, certain shades of color can be more valuable than others. For example, in the golden variety of South Sea pearls, the deeper the gold color, the higher its value.
- Quality and thickness of mother-of-pearl: Most freshwater pearls are all mother-of-pearl, so they are not affected by this factor, but to get certain freshwater pearls and all saltwater pearls, there are to include a nucleus that the oyster covers with mother-of-pearl. The thicker and better quality the mother-of-pearl, the higher the value of the pearl.
- Matched: The uniformity of pearls in a necklace or in pieces containing multiple pearls. This task, which may seem simple, is actually very difficult. It can take years to source the pearls to create a good quality, large pearl necklace, as the color, luster, shape and amount of blemishes have to be similar in each pearl.
Now that you know a bit about the 7 factors, you will be able to better understand why earrings or a necklace with 6mm pearls that barely shine, are not very round and have visible imperfections on a large part of their surface, are immensely cheaper than some with 13 mm pearls whose 7 factors are optimal.
How much do pearls cost according to their origin?
Before I start talking about the different origins of pearls, I would like to clarify that the origin does not intervene in quality. The quality is determined by the factors that we have talked about.
All types of pearls have their advantages and should not be compared with each other, but also in many cases they cannot be compared with each other due to their color and size.
For example, Tahiti pearls, are the only natural (not dyed) dark tones pearls, so if you are looking some dark colored pearls, you only have this option. The same happens if you are looking for pearls of gold color, the only option is the Australian pearls of the golden variety. And once again, if you are looking for pearls in pastel tones, lavender or peach, you will only find them from Freshwater .
Because pearls are created by molluscs of different species, with different cultivation methods, and in different countries, it is easy to understand why some types of pearls are more rare and expensive to produce than others, and therefore its price is higher.
As a general rule, as long as the quality was similar, the order of prices would be as follows:
- Freshwater: Usually freshwater pearls are usually the most accessible, since mussels are capable of producing many pearls at once and the costs of production are lower. Within this group there is an exception, freshwater pearls type Edison, whose culture is more complex and each mussel only produces one pearl.
- Akoya: The next pearls that we find are Akoya, especially those of medium sizes of 7 mm and produced in China, since those produced in Japan They are usually of higher quality and command much higher prices. The large ones are very scarce and their prices are usually very high.
- Tahiti: These pearls are produced in French Polynesia, although in recent years, due to increased production, Tahiti pearls have become more accessible, especially in lower qualities. However, those of high quality and large size continue to reach prohibitive prices.
- Australian: Lastly, we would have the queen of gems. Commonly misnamed Australian pearls, as not all of them are produced in Australia, South Sea pearls are often the largest pearls and the most frequently fetching record prices.
If you have read this far, you will understand that this is only indicative, since, as I have explained, the price also depends on the quality and each pearl is different. For this reason, when buying pearls it is important that you do so in a brand that knows how to give you all the information you need.
At Secret & You we are experts in pearls, graduated from the GÍA and backed by three generations of experience importing pearls directly from the producers, therefore, we ensure that we offer the best information and help you need to make the right decision.