What You Need to Know Before You Buy Pearls

Pearls are a timeless classic which never go out of style. They give a hint of heritage, heirloom, and of course, glamour. Not to mention, they are a trusted piece of jewellery that goes with everything

Pearls can either be natural, cultured, or imitation. Natural pearls are rare and are formed when a tiny irritant (e.g. a grain of sand) finds its way into a mollusk (i.e. an oyster). To protect itself, the oyster secretes nacre (nack-ra) to cover the irritant. This nacre builds up and a pearl is formed.

Cultured pearls are formed in the same way, the only difference being the irritant is deliberately introduced into the oyster.

There are two varieties of cultured pearls – freshwater and saltwater. Freshwater pearls are primarily grown in man-made lakes and reservoirs in China, while saltwater pearls are grown in bays, inlets and atolls around the world. Saltwater pearls are considered more valuable, however some freshwater pearls are particularly rare and high in quality.

Saltwater pearls come in three types – Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea.

The Japanese Akoya oyster produces an exceptional pearl. These strands require pearls that are uniform in shape, colour and have fabulous lustre. The jeweller needs to sort through thousands of Akoya pearls to make one perfect matching strand. When you think of the ultimate strand of white pearls, you are usually thinking of Akoya.

Tahitian pearls are naturally dark pearls, grown in French Polynesia, and can range from a soft grey to an inky black.

South Sea pearls are grown in Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia, and are the largest saltwater pearls. They range in colour from white to gold.

Freshwater pearls are considered the most affordable pearls, and come in white or pastel colours. They are a fashionable option, with the widest range of shapes, colours and sizes to choose from.

Imitation pearls are usually made from crystal, glass or are a plastic bead coated with a pearl-look paint.

Pearls are the world’s only organic gemstone, which means they can be quite delicate. Proper care is essential to ensure they lasts a lifetime, which our team can talk you through.

Call in and see our gorgeous selection of pearls today – perfect for a June birthday or 12 year wedding anniversary.