Fashion enthusiasts must constantly update their wardrobe and accessories to stay up-to-date with the latest styles. Even when it comes to jewelry, sometimes statement pieces are trending, while at other times, delicate items are the latest rage. However, one type of jewelry that is truly timeless and will always remain in your jewelry collection is pearls. That’s right, a pearl necklace or pearl earrings never fail to impress.

Beautiful strands of pearls are a staple in almost everyone’s jewelry box. The best part is that pearls are great for every occasion and complement every outfit. Whether you are going to a ball or a brunch, a pearl necklace will look stunning. Pearls look sophisticated and have been adorned by celebrities, royalty and the elite.

As a pearl jewelry lover, you might have noticed different tones of pearls because they come in pink, blue, grey and white. If you want to have a better understanding of pearls keep reading.

There are four main types of pearls:
  • Saltwater pearls
  • Freshwater pearls
  • Cultured pearls
  • South sea pearls

1. Saltwater Pearls

These are also known as natural pearls. They are formed in the sea without any human intervention. These are extremely rare and considered to be the most expensive pearls. Saltwater pearls were historically mostly found near the Persian Gulf. They were quite abundant until a few hundred years ago, but unfortunately, after people started harvesting them, their quantity has reduced. You might be able to find some small natural pearls, but they will cost you a lot. Saltwater pearls look white or cream colored with hints of yellow.

2. Freshwater Pearls

These types of pearls are just like saltwater pearls. However, they are not found in the sea; instead, they are found in freshwater bodies such as lakes, ponds or rivers. They have the same white and creamy color and a slight tinge of yellow to them, but they also come in various other pastel colors of pink and lavender. Freshwater pearls are not as uncommon as saltwater pearls and are comparatively affordable.

They come in different shapes and sizes as well. All jewelry designers and pearl lovers consider freshwater pearls to be their favorite. They have a distinct surface that sets them apart from other types of pearls and they have a warmth to their luster. They don’t have the typical glossy finish that other pearls have, but nonetheless, they are still quite popular.

 3. Cultured Pearls

These types of pearls are grown and harvested in pearl farms. These are the ones that require human intervention. The pearl farms are actually controlled bodies of water where the temperature is monitored so as to produce the best quality of pearls. Most pearls these days are cultured simply because natural pearls are quite rare now. Environmental factors have also played a part in their scarcity. Cultured pearls have become a thriving market for people creating and buying pearl jewelry. This is because jewelers need to keep up the growing demand for high-quality pearls and create beautiful pieces on a regular basis.

Cultured pearls are created by raising mollusks in the water and they are raised until they are big enough to accept the mother-of-pearl bead nucleus. The jewelers or technicians then perform a delicate surgical procedure by implanting the bead inside before returning them to the water. The mollusks are then cared for until they form pearls. It is an exhaustive process as not all mollusks create pearls and the jewelers have to sort through over 10,000 pieces to form a perfect 16-inch pearl necklace.

Cultured pearls are also categorized in the following types:

Akoya Pearls– small Japanese pearls with a creamy to off-white/white color

Mabe Pearls– they are flat looking pearls because they grow directly in the mollusks. They might not be round, but they still make an excellent choice for a unique pendant or pearl earrings.

Tahitian Pearls– they are one of the most unique types of pearls because they come in lots of colors and are comparatively a lot darker than other types of pearls. They come in blue, grey, purple and even black.

Baroque Pearls– they are also known as cultured saltwater pearls. They are the biggest type of pearls and come in different colors as well such as cream, golden and soft pink.

4. South Sea Pearls


South Sea pearls are part of the thick layer of mother-of-pearl, which is found in giant seashells in the South Sea. This is a hybrid type of pearl because it needs nature and human intervention to create it.

How is the value of a pearl calculated?

Some pearl necklaces are available at a very reasonable price, while some pearl earrings cost a lot. This is because pearls are valued differently and their value is based on the following qualities:

Luster– the more light they reflect, the deeper their luster.

Color and overtone– the pearls on either end of the color spectrum are the most desired, such as white pearls or black pearls.

Shape and texture– the highest quality pearls are the ones with a perfectly round and smooth surface. These types of pearls are the priciest.

Size and necklace length– the standard pearl necklace is measured with pearls ranging from 7-7.5 mm. The largest pearls are strung in the center of the pearl necklace and the smaller ones are at the end. The classic pearl necklace is usually 17-19 inches.

These little beauties are perfect to add to your jewelry collection, to give as gifts to your loved ones and to wear at any celebration or event. Wear pearl earrings to your office or a pearl necklace at a wedding to bring your whole outfit together in a beautiful way. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself some nice pearls today!

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