Pearl Buying Tips for Christmas, Birthdays and Other Special Occasions

wear pearls in winter

Thinking about buying pearl jewelry as gifts for Christmas, birthday, anniversary, coming of age or other occasions? Well, here at The Pearl Source, we are experts on the gems. We know everything there is to know about cultured pearls, how to care for them and how to buy the gemstones.

wear pearls in winter
Image Credit: anyka © 123RF.com

You want to be sure your gift doesn’t dull over time. The luster of the pearls should last a lifetime. Use this pearl buying guide as a tool to help you purchase high-quality, real cultured pearls as gifts for others this Christmas season.

7 Factors That Determine the Value of Cultured Pearls

Every type of cultured pearl is subject to the following factors when grading the value of the gemstones:

1. Cultured Pearl Luster

Visually speaking, the luster of a pearl is the most highly regarded factor. This is what makes the gem look so appealing. The pearl’s luster is all about its sharpness, brightness and ability to reflect light. It’s what makes the jewel sparkle and shine.

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Nacre is the crystalline substance produced by oysters within their shells. Also called mother-of-pearl, this is the outer coating of the gem. It’s responsible for the iridescent visuals you see when you look at lustrous pearls.

Generally, the longer the pearl is left to grow inside the oyster, the more it continues to form layers of nacre. The more nacre layers, the more lustrous the gemstone. And, lustrous pearls are very valuable.

2. Cultured Pearl Shape

Perfectly round pearls are very hard to come by, making them very rare gems. The closer to round they are, the more precious and valuable they are on the market.

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How amazing is the shape of this baroque pearl from The Pearl Source?
How amazing is the shape of this baroque pearl from The Pearl Source?


But, that doesn’t make other pearl shapes invaluable. Many pearl lovers treasure uniquely-shaped gems, such as baroque pearls. These gems are asymmetrical in shape. Their value is graded based on symmetry.

3. Cultured Pearl Color

Classic white pearls still remain the most popular and common choice when buying pearls as gifts for Christmas and other gift-giving occasions. Yet, these classic gems come in many different colors, from one end of the rainbow to the next.

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Just keep a few things in mind when shopping for various pearl colors:

  • Real Black Pearls – Tahitian pearls are the only pearl types that are naturally black in color. They come from the Tahitian black-lipped oyster, the only living creature that produces natural black pearls.
  • Real Gold Pearls – For naturally colored pearls of gold, South Sea Golden Pearls are the right choice. They are created within the golden-lipped oyster, and are about as rare as gold itself. Pearl colors range from deep gold to light champagne, with various golden hues in between.
  • Other Natural Pearl Colors – Cultured Freshwater pearls come in an array of naturally produced colors, except black. A pearl’s color alone does not dictate value. But. Naturally colored pearls tend to be a bit more valuable than dyed gems.

4. Cultured Pearl Size

Just like with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other gemstones, the larger the cultured pearl, the greater its value. Pearls range in size. The largest certified cultured Black Tahitian pearl ever discovered measures in at 25 mm in diameter.

Typically, cultured South Sea pearls are the largest on the market. Growing the pearls to become large in size requires a lot of time. It’s a miss-and-hit process that can be destroyed by various mishaps, including the deaths of the oysters.

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This is the reason why large South Sea pearls are so rare. And, that’s what makes them so expensive and value on the pearl market.

Download Our Pearl Diameter Guide

5. Cultured Pearl Weight

When shopping for pearls, you may find that most jewelers don’t feature the weight of the pearl in jewelry descriptions. But, a quality pearl jewelry store will be glad to share this information with you to help you make a more educated buying decision.

Everything you need to know about buying pearls

Generally, cultured pearl weight is measured in mommes. The weight of a pearl is typically expressed using these three units:

  • Grains
  • Carats
  • Mommes

Pearl weight alone does not determine the gem’s value. But, when judged along with other factors, it can have an impact on the value of the gem.

6. Cultured Pearl Surface

According to the general rules of thumb, most pearls will have blemishes on their surfaces. This is because the gems are created by nature… a living creature at that. So, technically, it’s impossible for any pearl to be completely perfect. Even if you can’t see them with the naked eye, some type of blemish exists.

Akoya Pearls with Blemishes Close Up
Akoya Pearls with Blemishes Close Up. Image Source: Pure Pearls

Many will feature scoring marks, pin pricks, wrinkles, chalky spots and other inclusions. These imperfections actually add to the value of the gems for pearl lovers who love unique jewelry. But, in actuality, the more perfect the pearl’s surface, the more valuable the gemstone.

7. Cultured Pearl Matching

This is an important factor when buying custom pearl jewelry as gifts. Buying groups of pearls means getting your hands on multiple gems with their own unique shapes, colors, luster, size and flaws. Each gem needs to match, or be well-coordinated, so they look good with one another.

7-8mm Pink Freshwater Pearl Necklace & Matching Pink Pearl Stud Earrings from The Pearl Source make awesome Christmas gifts.
7-8mm Pink Freshwater Pearl Necklace & Matching Pink Pearl Stud Earrings from The Pearl Source make awesome Christmas gifts. Click here to view.

Working with a cultured pearl jewelry specialist will ensure that your strands of pearls, bracelets and pearl earrings are well-matched. That way, your pearl jewelry gift not only looks amazing, it’s as valuable as possible. Nothing brings down the value of a pearl necklace like a bunch of unmatched gems.

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Buying Pearl Jewelry: Gift Giving Ideas for Christmas 2017

Still not sure exactly what type of pearl jewelry you should buy as gifts for the special people in your life? Well, here are a few ideas to help you get started checking people off your list for Christmas 2017:

  • Stud Pearl Earrings for Babies & Girls – At some point, most baby girls get their ears pierced. Make sure the baby in your life doesn’t have to wear those ugly, plain gold studs. Get her a nice pair of small stud pearl earrings. She’ll be able to wear them for years to come.
  • Pearl Bracelets for Teens – Most fashionable teens love bracelets. They are into bangles, cuff, charm, beaded bracelets and more. There are some very trendy pearl bracelets for teens on the market these days. You can have the personalized with engravings and charms, or custom design one for that special teen yourself.
  • Strands of Pearls for Women – Sophisticated women love pearls. They are symbolic of class and style. And, today’s jewelry designers are going all out when it comes to creating a diversity of styles. So, you’re sure to find the perfect pearl necklace for that special lady in your life. And, if she’s not a “strand of pearls” type of women, how about a simple gold necklace, with an awesome pearl pendant?
  • Pearl Necklaces for Men – Today’s man is not afraid of tipping the limits when it comes to style and fashion. Reality TV stars, Hip Hop artists, rock stars and other celebrity men sport their pearl necklaces with pride, making it fashionable for men to wear pearls. Check out the image gallery below for some ideas for pearl jewelry gifts for men.

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Kiesha Joseph

The Pearl Source Content Manager at Content Marketing Geek Corporation
Kiesha Joseph is the Managing Content Editor for ThePearlSource.com, a leading online pearl jewelry website offering high-quality pearls at affordable prices. Kiesha is a Content Marketing Geek who enjoys educating her audience on a broad range of topics, including trends in marketing, SEO, jewelry, fashion, celebrity style and more.
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