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How To Buy Pearls:
Types, Color, Necklace Length & Tips

Hamilton’s PearlsDifferences In Types of Pearls

Pearls are not only in vogue and a summertime favorite, but they are an undisputed classic. If there is one staple piece of fine jewelry that a woman should have, it’s pearls. But not all pearls are created equal. As pearls are the only organic gemstone there are differences that need to be taken into account when looking to purchase pearl jewelry.

Natural vs. Cultured Pearls

Natural Pearls: Made when a grain of sand or an irritant gets inside the shell of an oyster, muscle or clam by chance. The oyster’s defense system is set off, and the irritant is coated in a fluid called nacre. Layers are added upon layers until that small grain is transformed into a smooth pearl.

Cultured Pearls: Although cultured pearls are not made by chance in nature, they are truly organic and should not be compared to a natural pearl as a lab created diamond is to a mined one. These are simply made on a farm, but the process is a tedious and difficult one, if simple in explanation: with the utmost care, the farmer places the irritant into the shell to begin the pearl forming process.

Fun Fact: Mikimoto patented the first cultured pearl.

Natural vs. Cultured Pearls

Pearl Shapes:

  • · Round Pearl: The pearl is a perfect sphere. This is the most traditional of the shapes, and it is often used in pearl strand necklaces.
  • · Near Round Pearl: The pearl has an overall round in shape, but may have a flattened or elongated part.
  • · Button Pearl: A pearl that is completely flat.
  • · Baroque Pearl: The pearl shape is irregular in shape and a-symmetrical, and is often used in modern or more abstract fine jewelry pieces.

Pearl Surface: Like a diamond judged for its clarity, a pearl is judged by the cleanliness of its surface. Because this is an organic gemstone, irregularities are common and to be expected, but more perfect a surface is, the higher the quality of the pearl.

Pearl Luster: Buyers want to look for a high-luster pearl when in the market. Luster is related to surface and a high-luster pearl will have a near mirror-like sheen to it. If it is dull, then the pearl has a low-luster.

Pearl Size: The average pearl size is typically between 2mm-18mm.

The 4 Main Types of Pearls

Mikimoto 18K White Gold and 6-6.5mm Pearl Stud Earrings

Akyoa Pearls: Classic & Traditional

Where: Japanese Origin
Color: Classic White
Average Price Range: $61-$3,000
Fun Fact: Akoya pearls are never naturally black.

Left: Mikimoto 18K White Gold and 6-6.5mm Pearl Stud Earrings

Hueb Apus 18K Gold and South Sea Pearl Bracelet

South Sea Pearls: A Gold Rarity

Where: Australia, Indonesia, Philippines
Color: White, Silver, Gold
Average Price Range: $399-30,000
Fun Fact: Natural South Sea pearls are considered the most rare and valuable.

Left: Hueb Apus 18K Gold and South Sea Pearl Bracelet

Triple Row Freshwater Pearl Bracelet

Freshwater Pearls: The Colorful Cousin

Where: Australia, Indonesia, Philippines
Color: White, Pink, Lavender
Average Price Range: $69-1,500
Fun Fact: Freshwater pearls make up about 95% of the entire global production of pearls.

Left: Triple Row Freshwater Pearl Bracelet

Mizuki 14K Gold and Tahitian Collar Necklace

Tahitian: The Only True Black Pearl

Where: Tahiti & French Polynesian Islands
Color: Black, Green, Silver
Average Price Range: $120-10,000
Fun Fact: The oyster that makes these pearls can weight up to 10 pounds!

Left: Mizuki 14K Gold and Tahitian Collar Necklace

Fun Fact: June’s Birthstone is a Pearl!

Finding The Right Length of a Pearl Necklace

Mizuki 18K Yellow Gold and Pearl Necklace

The Pearl Choker: 14-16 Inches

Left: Mizuki 18K Yellow Gold and Pearl Necklace

Mikimoto 18K Gold and Akoya Pearl Necklace, Bracelet, and Stud Set

The Pearl Princess Necklace: 17-19 Inches

Left: Mikimoto 18K Gold and Akoya Pearl Necklace, Bracelet, and Stud Set

The Pearl Rope Necklace: 36 Inches or Longer

Opera length pearl necklaces and other size can be custom ordered through Hamilton at any time. Contact our expert team, and we will be glad to assist you.

Freshwater Pearl 42 Inch Necklace

The Pearl Rope Necklace: 36 Inches or Longer

Left: Freshwater Pearl 42 Inch Necklace

The Charming Single Pearl Necklace

Opera length pearl necklaces and other size can be custom ordered through Hamilton at any time. Contact our expert team, and we will be glad to assist you.

Freshwater White Pearl and Sterling Silver Lariat Necklace

The Pearl Rope Necklace: 36 Inches or Longer

Left: Freshwater White Pearl and Sterling Silver Lariat Necklace

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