Guide to Pearls

There are many things to take into consideration when buying classic string of pearls:

Pearls are classified by origin, ( saltwater or freshwater ) then graded by size, shape, nacre thickness, colour, lustre, surface clarity and how they match. Here’s a quick summary of pearl quality factors to get started:

Lustre
The combination of surface brilliance and a deep-seated glow, the luster of a good-quality cultured pearl should be bright, not dull. Your reflection should be seen clearly on the surface of a cultured pearl. Any pearl that looks too chalky or dull indicates low quality.

Shape
It is rare to find a perfectly round cultured pearl – and these are considered most valuable. While many people prefer the perfect spheres of classic pearl jewellery, baroque pearls -- those that have an irregular shape -- are now commonly seen in fine jewellery. Freshwater pearls, from freshwater sources like lakes and rivers.

Size
Measured by their diameter in millimeters, the average cultured pearls sold today are between 7 and 7 1/2 millimeters. Generally, the larger the pearl, the more valuable it will be.

Surface
Cleanliness of the cultured pearl surface refers to the absence of disfiguring spots, blemish or cracks. A cultured pearl with a clean surface will have a higher value than a spotted, bumpy or cracked one.

Color
Rose Silver/White Cream Gold Blue/Gray cultured pearls occur in colors from rosé to black. While color is a matter of preference, rosé or silver/white pearls tend to look best on fair skin tones, while cream and gold-tone cultured pearls are flattering to darker complexions.

Pearl Jewellery Do’s and Don’ts
DO: Select a vendor that specialises in pearls
DO: Research pearl grading and their value factors
DON’T: Get mislead by inflated pearl grades. AAAA is NOT a real grade.
DON’T: Get stuck on the brand name

 

How to Clean & Store Pearls

  • Apply cosmetics, hair sprays and perfume before putting on any pearl jewelry. When you remove the jewelry, wipe it carefully with a soft cloth to remove any traces of these substances.

  • You can also wash your pearl jewelry with mild soap and water. Do not clean cultured pearls with any chemicals, abrasives or solvents. These substances can damage your pearls.

  • Always lay cultured pearl strands flat to dry. Hanging a strand may stretch the threads.

  • Do not toss your cultured pearl jewelry carelessly into a purse, bag or jewel box. A pearl's surface is soft and can be scratched by hard metal edges or by the harder gemstones of other jewelry pieces.

  • Place cultured pearls in a chamois bag or wrap them in tissue when putting them away.

  • Cosmetics, perspiration, oils and ordinary wear weaken and stretch the threads on which the pearls are strung. Bring your pearls back to your jeweler for restringing once a year. Make certain the pearls are strung with a knot between each pearl. This will prevent loss of pearls if the string should break.
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