How to Buy a Pearl Necklace

by Katie Duzan

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Pearl necklaces are classic and fashionable and can be worn by any woman, regardless of age and style preferences. Their high level of versatility means pearl necklaces can be paired with everything from casual outfits to formal wear. The large variety of styles and types of pearl necklaces available means you can have the perfect one for your wardrobe, but this can also make it hard to find the necklace you want. Here's how to narrow down your search.

Buying Pearl Necklaces:

  1. Set a budget: Deciding on a price range is a great way to narrow down your search and avoid overspending. Few things are available in as wide a price range as pearl necklaces. This is partly because pearls can be very valuable gemstones, while they are also easily duplicated to make lovely imitation pearls. Setting a maximum price will help you begin the shopping process.

  2. Learn about the ratings: Being informed about pearls and their quality ratings will guide you in making a knowledgeable and valuable purchase. There are two rating systems for pearls. In the AAA-A pearl grading system, AAA is the best, AA is the middle, and A is the lowest grade. The Tahitian system, on the other hand, rates pearls A, B, C, and D with A being the highest quality and D being the lowest. Both systems will use the same criteria for grading, with ratings based on luster, blemishes, and shape.

    Pearl Rating Criteria:

    • Luster is the glow that the pearl emits, bouncing back to the eye from the coating or nacre.

    • Blemishes found on pearls include imperfections such as scratches, small dots, bubbles, and wrinkles.

    • Shape will depend on the type of pearl that you choose, but typically a perfectly round pearl is the highest grade because these are very rare.

  3. Think about the style: Length and pearl size affect the style most, and the style of necklace you choose will depend largely on your personal taste and your wardrobe. Pearl necklaces come in many different styles, so you can have one that is just right for your fashion preferences and lifestyle. Pearl necklaces come in several different lengths, from chokers that hug your neck to strands that are long enough to double and triple or wear down to your waist.

  4. Choose a color: The most common colors for pearls are white and cream, but they come in many other colors as well. Some other popular colors are black, brown, pink, bronze, gold, silver, and grey. If you are shopping for imitation pearls, however, you can have a pearl necklace in virtually any shade, because manufactured pearls can be made in any color imaginable.

Pearl Necklace Buying Tip:

  1. Imitation pearls do not use the pearl grading systems, as they are typically made from glass or plastic and covered in pearl essence, but you can still check the quality of these pearls before purchasing by considering luster, blemishes, and shape.

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