SELECTING CULTURED PEARLS
FOR YOUR STYLE
their very name conjures up images of lustrous jewels nestled in oysters far
below the surface of the sea. Yet cultured pearls are more than just jewels. Since the
beginning of time, pearls have been revered as one of the most beautiful and magical gems
on earth. Today, cultured pearls are the foundation of every womans jewelry
wardrobe. Fashionable, feminine and fresh, cultured pearls are lustrous stars in the world
of fine jewelry. A simple cultured pearl necklace can take a woman through every moment in
her life, any outfit in her wardrobe. The possibilities are endless. The following
guidelines will help you choose the perfect pearl jewelry.
The first consideration should be the person wearing the pearl jewelry.
What is her age? Is she formal or casual? Avant garde or classic? Will a man be wearing
the jewelry? Pearl jewelry suits all personalities. The most popular pearl jewels for
women are pearl earrings, necklaces, rings, brooches and bracelets. Men prefer cuff links,
studs, and lapel pins. People with warm coloring usually prefer pearls with a cream color
while people with cool coloring prefer white-based pearls. Fancy colored pearls are
flattering to everyone.
Luster is the most important factor in choosing pearls. The inner glow of
the pearl combined with the surface brilliance defines luster. The higher the luster, the
thicker the nacre or secretion from the oyster and the stronger the glow. You should be
able to see your reflections clearly on the surface of a pearl. Lower quality cultured
pearls appear too white, dull or chalky.
The smoothness of the pearl's surface, from clean to heavily blemished, is
the next consideration. Cracks or breaks in the nacre are considered damage and can
contribute to the deterioration of the pearl. Because pearls are grown in an oyster and
are organic gems they are almost never flawless. The gem-quality pearl may have minute
blemishes when examined very closely, but they are not noticeable at arm's length.
Similarly, it is very rare to find a perfectly round pearl. The rounder
the pearl, however, the more valuable it is. Slightly off-round, semi- baroque and baroque
pearls that are not as perfectly round can be lustrous and appealing and often cost less
than rounder cultured pearls.
Cultured pearls range in color from white to black with various
multi-colored overtones. The color of the pearl is really the wearer's preference. White
pearls with rose overtones or silver-white pearls look better on women with cool coloring
while cream and golden pearls are flattering on those with warm complexions. More unusual
colors such as blue-grays, strong golden yellows, and pinkish-silvers are sought by pearl
lovers who own strands in several colors.
Cultured pearls are measured in millimeters. Pearls range in size from
smaller than one millimeter, called seed pearls, to larger than 20 millimeters for large
cultured South Sea pearls. All other factors being equal, the larger the pearl the rarer
and more valuable it is. The average size pearl sold today is 7 to 7.5 millimeters.
When two or more pearls are used for earrings, rings or a necklace the
quality of the matching adds to the value of the jewelry. Obviously, it is desirable for
the pearls to appear as identical as possible. Matching includes the luster, size, shape,
base color, overtones, and surface.
We look forward to helping you make the best possible selection of pearl
jewelry. Our knowledgeable staff has the expertise to recommend the appropriate color,
size and style of jewelry, all within your budget. We also will instruct you in the proper
care of your purchase so that it will be beautiful and wearable for many years to come.