Welcome to the pearl revolution. Twenty or so years ago, the Japanese Akoya stood virtually alone. Now it has been joined by multitudes of Tahitian pearls, Golden and White South Sea pearls and hundreds of Freshwaters. So which is the best pearl for you to choose?
Each pearl has its own advantages. The way pearls are nucleated may have an effect on your buying decision. Freshwater pearls are tissue activated and have no bead inserted inside to build up nacre, making them pure pearl. For some that is a selling point. They are available in natural pastel or white and in their finest qualities have some of the characteristics of natural pearls. However be careful, as a large percentage of Chinese freshwater pearls are of secondary quality. The best can go up against any pearl in the world and can be purchased for a third of the price.
Pearls are often treated, usually to adjust or improve the color. Pearls are regularly dyed and irradiated. Natural colors are, by far, the most beautiful. The Japanese Akoya, the pearl that is seen most in the market is routinely bleached white then dyed to give it a pinkish overtone. If the color looks too good to be true it probably isn’t.
Some pearls exhibit a fleeting misty glow that seems to hover over the surface of the pearl. This is what is known as overtone. Not all pearls exhibit overtone, for example, it is very rare in South Sea white pearls. If present in white pearls, the overtone is usually pink. In Tahitian black pearls, green, blue or a blend of the two may be present.
Round pearls are the classic go to shape for most. To judge if all the pearls in a strand are round, hold the string of pearls taught between your hands and revolve the strand between your fingers. In a round strand you should see no movement but if some of the pearls jump about unevenly, the strand is not completely round. However do not dismiss off round or baroque pearls. If these pearls have good luster, no scratches or cracks are a modern alternative to the classic round shape. You can wear them with jeans and more casual outfits and they are available at a significantly lower price.
While pearls come in all colors, this does not affect quality or price, unless it is a golden south sea. These are rare and can be slightly pricier at times. Color doesn’t matter when it comes to excellence but it does matter when it comes to individual purchasing. What may look great against a white or dark background, might not look as good against your skin tone. Pearls in a jewelers case is a different ballgame and one should know their palette before buying pearls as pearls can come alive against the right skin tone or color.
Equipped with this insider knowledge, you can now make the best purchase, resulting in the right pearls for you. Spread the knowledge and spread the love of pearls. You can never have too many.