Are pearls expensive and what does it depend on?
Timeless, elegant and noble… These are pearls. It has always been associated with wealth, a symbol of love and purity. Pearl jewelry is probably the oldest known to man. A necklace found in Egypt dates back to around 2500 BC. In antiquity, they were very valuable gems that only a few could afford.
It was almost a miracle to find a nice pearl that can be used in jewelry. And so it remained. It should be borne in mind that only one clam in many thousands produces such a pearl. So finding her was very time consuming and dangerous at the same time. No wonder then that pearls were valued more than gold.
Only with time, due to the breeding of mussels and the initiation of pearls' growth by humans, their price decreased so much that nowadays everyone can afford pearls.
Naturally picked pearls, of course, can still be bought, among others, in auction houses, mainly as antique and collector's items. Their prices, however, are very high, reaching many million PLN.
Despite the greater availability of cultured pearls on the market, they can still cost a lot - their price increases exponentially with quality. Contrary to gemstones, pearls cannot be processed mechanically. Just as the pearl was fished, it will go to the jeweler in this condition. Only the final color is affected.
What affects the price of pearls?
Types of pearls
We have two main types of pearls on the market: freshwater and marine. Freshwater pearls are grown in lakes and rivers. This makes their breeding much easier. Moreover, the amount of pearls obtained from one mussel is greater. For example, in one freshwater mussel you can find up to several dozen pearls, and in a sea one - only one pearl. This is one of the reasons why freshwater is cheaper than sea pearls.
Types of real pearls From left to right: Freshwater Pearl, Akoya, Tahiti and South Sea
Sea pearls, in turn, are divided into three species: Akoya, Tahiti and South Sea pearls.
Akoya are characterized by an even shape and a very strong shine.
Tahiti come from French Polynesia and are characterized by a dark color (from silver to graphite, green or brown).
South Sea, the pearls of the southern seas, are the largest cultured pearls in the world. The most popular of its kind are golden hue pearls, which achieve the highest prices among all pearls.
Shape of pearl
Although pearls are mainly associated with round shapes, their variety in nature is much greater. In addition to round pearls, we also have oval (rice) or teardrop-shaped pearls, semicircular (¾-round) pearls, i.e. with one round part and the other flat and the so-called baroque pearls (all other shapes).
Round pearls are the most valuable and the more their shape resembles a sphere, the higher the price. Such pearls are most often chosen for necklaces and bracelets. On the other hand, the most beautiful single specimens are used in gold earrings, pendants or rings
Due to the price of round pearls, they are rarely used in silver products. It is worth paying attention to this when buying silver jewelry, whether it is an artificial pearl.
A preview of different types of pearl shapes - from the left: baroque, oval, button, round
Oval pearls (teardrops) are second in line, which look best in hanging earrings and pendants. The smaller ones (up to approx. 9.0 mm) are often used in silver products. Perfectly matched (matched) teardrop pearls in terms of shape can cost even more than round pearls.
Semicircular (¾ round) pearls, due to their lower price, are the most popular choice among the entire collection of silver jewelry.
Baroque pearls are usually the cheapest pearls, and their varied forms inspire artist jewelers. As they often take fanciful shapes, a talented jeweler can make them a real masterpiece. Such a pearl combined with gold and precious stones, however, can be valuable. Most often, baroque pendants and brooches are made, less often earrings.
Size of pearl
The size is given in millimeters and has a great influence on the price. The pearls themselves are sorted in 0.5 mm increments. Freshwater pearls range from even 1 mm to about 15 mm. In smaller sizes, the differences in price are not large - in the range of 20-30%. However, from approx. 9.0 mm, these differences are significant.
Akoya pearls range from 2 mm to approx. 10 mm. Above 8 mm, a large jump in value, even two times, must be taken into account.
Larger sizes are found in Tahiti and South Sea pearls. In Tahiti it is about 8-18 mm, and relatively acceptable prices are up to about 12 mm. South Sea most often occurs in the range of 10-20 mm. Of course, individual pearls can be even larger. However, it is hard to find a string of such pearls on the market. A lot more time is needed to grow large pearls. It is associated with a considerable risk of its distortion and the appearance of various types of imperfections. This affects their rarity and significantly affects the price.
The quality of pearl surface
Another criterion for the valuation of a pearl is its surface. Since the pearl is a natural work of art, the mussel is rarely perfect. There are various defects on its surface, which make it easy to distinguish real pearls from counterfeit pearls, which are usually perfectly smooth.
On the surface of the pearls, there may be some kind of growths, pits, redrawing or discoloration. Of course, the fewer blemishes, the more expensive the pearl. In the case of fully smooth pearls without any flaws, the prices can be very high.
Since a pearl must be mounted in the jewelery and therefore a hole must be made in it, a pearl with a single blemish can be valued equally with those without blemishes. In the place of the blemish, a hole is drilled for installation and thus a perfect pearl is obtained. However, this applies only to round pearls, because there is no difference where the mount will be. In other shapes, the drill hole may only be in one place.
Would you like to know more about pearl quality? Then be sure to read these messages from our customers :)
A very important feature of a pearl is its luster, which significantly affects the price. Often underestimated or omitted in comparison, a feature that strongly influences appearance and value.
The difference in price between low-gloss or even non-gloss pearls and very high-gloss pearls can be even several times. Therefore, it is also worth paying attention to this aspect. The stronger the shine, the more the pearl has the ability to reflect objects around it. This is a trait that is very difficult to evaluate and it is best to do it by comparing strings of pearls with each other. Gloss assessment is also highly subjective, therefore difficult and ungrateful to evaluate.
The color of pearls
Due to the fact that this is the only trait that can be influenced by humans, the color of pearls (in the case of freshwater ones) is not an aspect that strongly influences their value.
Freshwater pearls are very often dyed and also discolored to white. The most natural colors are cream and salmon.
In saltwater pearls, the color is changed less frequently. The most valuable Akoya will be white with a pink glow. Green in Tahiti, and intensely golden in the South Sea.
Fit of pearls
Matching pearl jewelry is of great importance in the valuation of pearl jewelry. Valuable earrings or a necklace will be characterized by well-paired pearls.
A pearl is like a fingerprint and it is virtually impossible to find an identical one, but nevertheless the best pearls should be very similar. This is obviously a time-consuming process, but it increases the value and prestige of such jewelry. In earrings, the pearls should be practically identical.
In necklaces and bracelets, the color and shape should be similar. Here, the size of the pearls is allowed to be graded, which when fastened are slightly smaller than those in the middle. A string of identical pearls will therefore be much more valuable than the individual pearls from which it is made.
That is why in apearl we pay so much attention to the appropriate matching of the pearls. It takes the most time in our studio. However, clients confirm that it is worth our work
Pearl coating thickness
A pearl is more durable the thicker its coating is. Freshwater pearls are better in this respect because their shell is practically all-mother-of-pearl. The pearl's core, i.e. the element that will initiate its formation, is the size of a grain of sand.
Recently, nuclear freshwater pearls have also been grown, which are much cheaper. A reliable seller should inform about the type of pearls he is selling. For us, all freshwater pearls are nuclear-free, unless explicitly stated in the description.
However, all cultured sea pearls are already nuclear pearls, so the coating of the mother of pearl itself may be different. In Akoyach, the thickness is from about 0.3 mm to 0.7 mm and this is considered to be of good quality. Quality Tahiti and South Sea pearls should have a coating of at least 2 mm.
Did we mention that you can get a discount? Check how without limits as to the time or size of the order :)
The valuation of pearls is subject to a very wide spectrum of evaluation. While individual pearls can be purchased at an affordable price, a necklace with equal, paired pearls, free from blemishes and strong shine will cost a minimum of several hundred zlotys for the smallest sizes and thousands of zlotys for larger pearls.
From the very beginning, we believe that every woman deserves real pearls. Due to the fact that we are a direct importer and producer of pearl jewelry, we offer pearls at very attractive prices, which start from as low as PLN 39 for silver stud earrings or PLN 119 for gold earrings.