How To Determine The Beauty & Quality of Pearls
The freshwater pearl is one of nature's most beautiful prizes. Formed inside freshwater mussels and pearl oysters, these remarkable pearls have been incorporated into stunning jewelry for hundreds of years.
Only a century ago, pearls were considered so valuable and rare that only the wealthy could afford to own them, don them around the neck or incorporate them into other fashionable accessories. Today, commercial farming methods have made cultured pearls more accessible and affordable to the masses. However they are still as beautiful and exotic as they ever were.
Did you know?
Nearly 100% of real, high-quality pearls found in today's jewelry are “cultured” from farmed freshwater mussels. Pearl oysters, however, are no longer fished commercially for pearls. Thus, any older jewelry made from naturally occurring pearls is extremely rare today and tends to be very expensive, sometimes fetching thousands of dollars for a single pearl.
What determines the quality & value of a freshwater pearl
With so many imitation pearls out there, you'll want to make sure you pay close attention to the quality of your freshwater pearl jewelry. Several different factors influence the quality and value.
Here's what to look at as you begin shopping for your jewelry:
The overall quality and value of pearls are generally graded by a letter system from A (lower value due to more flaws) to AAA or sometimes AAAA (highest value due to minimal flaws). It's increasingly common for pearl retailers to deem their highest-quality pearls as “4A.”
At DesiredPearls.com, all of our pearls are 4A-quality, having the very highest luster and smooth, clean, virtually flawless surfaces. As you'll read below, these are the factors that affect a pearl's grading.
A pearl’s luster – the natural shine it gives off when reflecting light – is perhaps the most important factor affecting its beauty. If you've ever compared artificial pearls to a real, 4A-quality freshwater pearl, then you know the beauty can't be compared. Real pearls have a noticeably superior luster that is absolutely gorgeous. Imitation and low-quality alternatives are much more dull.
The highest quality pearls are very smooth and have little to no imperfections. Things like small divots, bumps and scratches are considered flaws that lower the beauty and therefore decrease the value. Look for jewelry that has a “superior” surface that is 95% perfect or higher.
Typically, the closer a pearl is to being perfectly round, the more rare it is, and thus more valuable. However, that doesn't make other shapes any less desirable. Baroque and semi-round pearls, for example, are very popular, as they have a unique look that is very fashionable. It's all a matter of preference. Those who love pearl jewelry typically prefer to have several different shapes in their collection.
Color tends to be more of a personal preference. While white, pink and ivory are considered more “classic,” there are many different colors available and it typically does not affect the value.
Find the perfect freshwater pearl jewelry at DesiredPearls
Discover a wide array of beautiful, all 4A-quality freshwater pearl jewelry at DesiredPearls.com.
A division of Pascal Pearls – one of the most trusted and respected names in quality pearls – DesiredPearls.com is the premier online resource for beautiful, nearly flawless pearl jewelry.
Shop now to browse our extensive selection of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants and more.