5 criteria that influence the price of cultured pearls

November 24, 2014

Cultured pearls as a gift are affordable and elegant.What should you consider when looking for pearl jewellery? Here are five criteria that influence their market price.
The birth of a pearl

When a grain of sand or other foreign matter is introduced into the shell of an oyster or other mollusk, it becomes surrounded in a layer of nacre, also called calcium carbonate. The result? A cultured pearl. The first techniques to create cultured pearls were developed in Asia, soon followed by other parts of the world.

Although cultured pearls occur mostly due to human intervention, no two pearls are exactly alike.With differences in size, color and shape what are the five criteria that influence the price of cultured pearls?

Five criteria to examine when buying cultured pearl jewellry

A pearl’s brilliance depends on its source and the thickness of its nacre. The brighter its luster, the better it reflects light and the more the pearl has value.
2. Color
The color of pearls varies with the type of culture, environment, water salinity and the dissolved pigments that are contained in the water. In addition to the beautiful black color of the very sought-after Tahitian pearls, there are close to a dozen more popular shades, from white to gray and cream to pinkish cream.
The quality of the pearl can also be assessed according to the strong presence of a secondary color and the iridescence (called “orient”) that makes it shimmer in the light. Cultured pearls are often chemically treated so as to improve and unify their color. Consequently, when the color is entirely natural, it is reflected in the price.
3. Shape
The most sought-after (and expensive) cultured pearls are perfectly round, but some pearls may be oval and others irregularly-shaped (baroque or semi-baroque). While perfectly round pearls may seem most desirable, there is an organic beauty to the irregularly-shaped pearls that is also appealing.
4. Size
The pearl’s size is determined by the variety of the mollusk used and its immersion time in the water; this is also the case for the quality and thickness of the nacre. As such, the price will depend on the pearl's size and the time required for its production.
5. Surface quality
A few minor marks on a pearl are considered proof of its authenticity. However, prominent marks, visible stains and rough patches are signs of lesser quality and bring down a pearl’s market value.
Choose pearls to compliment your skin color

Beauty experts suggest taking your skin color into consideration when choosing pearl jewelry. Like perfume, the type of pearls you choose is personal; with just the right hue and iridescence, they make your complexion glow.

Caring for your cultured pearls

Quality pearl jewellery can last for a lifetime, provided that you take good care of it. It is important to protect pearls from irritants, including some of the chemicals found in cosmetics. To prevent scratching, keep pearls in a box lined with soft fabric, in a separate compartment, away from other jewellery. Don’t clean them with an abrasive product or with ultrasound; simply wipe the pearls with a soft cloth after wearing, and they’ll keep their brilliance for a long time.

5 criteria that influence the price of cultured pearls
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