The qualities that determine a natural or cultured pearl’s value are size, shape, colour, luster, surface quality, nacre quality, and - for jewellery with two or more pearls - matching.
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What to look for
If surface characteristics are numerous or severe, they can affect the durability of the pearl and severely depress its value. Surface characteristics have less effect on the pearl’s beauty and value if they are few in number, or if they are minor enough to be hidden by a drill-hole or mounting.
Luster and nacre quality are closely related. If the nucleus is visible under the nacre, or if the pearl has a dull, chalky appearance, you can assume that the nacre is thin. This affects the lustre as well as the durability of the pearl. Nacre thickness is evaluated to make sure that cultured pearls are durable as well as beautiful.
Pearl Quality Factors: The Comprehensive Guide
Tips & Advice
1. Consider mixing pearl colours and origins.
Although single-colour strands are still the most common, mixing pearl colours and types is a fresh way to wear pearls. Multicolour strands often contain rare colours because it is too difficult to find enough of them to create a whole strand.
2. Add versatility with an adjustable clasp.
Traditional strands range from 14-16 inch chokers to 17-18 inch princess to longer matinee, opera, and rope lengths. New clasps allow you to create different lengths. For example, a long strand might be worn single, double, or as a shorter necklace.
3. Have your pearls restrung before they break.
Although pearls last generations, the string they are knotted on may not. Be sure to have your pearls checked regularly and restring them if there are signs of wear.