How to Buy Pearls

You’ve decided which type, shape, color, but how do you decide for sure? Rule 6: find the pearls you like. For most people (who don’t want to spend thousands on a necklace) that will mean looking for a good cultured pearl.  Again, source is very important when buying pearls.  It takes a very careful eye and some knowledge of gems to judge pearls’ luster, evaluating their type, size, shape, uniformity, and color, and deciding whether the price being asked is a fair one. By buying pearls close to the source or from a reputable dealer, you will know much more about their quality.

But all this information really comes secondary to the most important thing about pearls: What do you like? The general rule in the pearl market is that more uniform, evenly colored, evenly sized, evenly and thickly lustered pearls are worth more because it is more difficult to grow a naturally produced gem to meet specific size, shape and color requirements.

But what if you don’t want uniformly round or oval, flawlessly unblemished and perfectly uni-colored pearls? What if your preference is for a multi-colored pearl? Or what if you love the funky shapes and colors that a good cultured pearl can provide? What if you like the knobbly texture or shapes of freshwater pearls much more than a smooth sea pearl?  What if uniform white pearls remind you of something you’d see at an AARP meeting? Buy what you like, but be aware of which sorts of pearls tend to cost more. Then you can match your preference with the quality you expect and pay a price that is in line with what you want to pay.

Next Article: The Problem with Buying Retail or Auction Pearls

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