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How To Choose Your Perfect South Sea Cultured Pearl Necklace

Copyright (c) 2006-2019

A strand of beautiful South Sea cultured pearls is indeed an investment. South Sea cultured pearls are the largest and rarest pearls in fine jewelry market today. We'll start with a brief history then on to pearl specifics and value factors. Lastly, we'll look at where to shop for South Sea pearls.


A Brief History Of South Sea Pearls

Natural South Sea pearls were first discovered in the 1880's inside large oysters off the northwest coast of Australia. The oysters were collected for their shells as well as a food source. Pearls were found only in a handful of collected oysters. Fifty years later the oysters became depleted. After careful research, culturing methods were developed and oyster population nursed back to health.

Today, South Sea cultured pearls are the rarest and largest in the world. Australia is the preeminent culturing center producing the majority of South Sea pearls, Indonesia and the Philippines strongly contribute to the remaining portion.


South Sea Cultured Pearls At A Glance

Size range: 9 millimeters to 20 millimeters (or 0.35 in to 0.79 in)

Average size: 12 millimeters to 13 millimeters (or 0.5 in)

Growth time: 20 - 24 months

Oyster: Pinctada Maxima or Gold and Silver Lipped oysters

Color range: White to Golden


South Sea Cultured Pearl Value Factors

Values are dependant on both visible factors of the specific pearl as well as the entire strand. These factors are:

1. Luster 2. Shape or Roundness 3. Surface Cleanliness 4. Matching 5. Color 6. Size


1. Luster

Luster is the most important factor when determining the value of a pearl. A good way to talk about pearl luster is in terms of a mirror. A pearl with good luster will be very shiny and bright. Images will be clearly reflected, almost like a mirror. Details such as facial features can be seen in the reflection as well. South sea pearl luster is a soft glow coming from within. Only a rare handful will display a clear reflection and very bright shine.

To look for a good luster, hold the pearls at a distance where you can clearly and comfortably see your reflection - usually about six to seven inches away. Can you see your eyes differentiated from your face? What other background can you see? If the reflection is clear then, the luster is good.


2. Shape or Roundness

The next prominent value factor is the shape of the pearl or how round the pearl is. Round is the most valued of all cultured pearl shapes. Next are symmetrical shapes such as drops or buttons. Oysters are hand turned during pearl growth to ensure a rounder pearl. The great majority of the South Sea cultured pearls are significantly less than round. As a result, a round pearl is very rare and very valued.


3. Surface Cleanliness

The pearl's surface the pearl does need to be completely clean for good shine and radiance. Pearls are natural gems, as a result, the surface will have some blemishing. A few rare pearls will have a surface or body that is relatively free of blemishes. As a result, these are very, very valuable. Pearl drilling as well as jewelry setting should take into account any surface blemishes.


4. Matching

It can take sifting through over 10,000 individual pearls to find two well matched ones for stud earrings. Multiply this effort by a full strand of well matched pearls - this rarity makes a well matched strand more valuable than the combined value of the individual pearls.

When judging for well matched pearls, simply look at the entire strand. There will be just a slight variation as pearls are natural gems. The variation should be pleasing and complementary.


5. Color

There are two main colors of South Sea Pearls - white and golden. When making this choice, think about which colors will look best on you. Pearls are unique as they do reflect ambient light in the most flattering way. As a result, they will flatter you.

Some skin, hair and eye color combinations will favor one color over another. To choose, hold the pearls up by your face and look in a mirror. Switch between the colors to see which best complements you.

Also, pearl color can vary under different lighting sources. Florescent light, shaded light and an overcast sky tend to intensify blues. Incandescent and both the rising or setting sun, intensify oranges, reds and yellows. For the truest color, look at your pearls in sunlight at about midday. If you are indoors, move the pearls from one type of light source to another.

Golden South Sea cultured pearls command a higher value. When investing in Golden South Sea pearls, look for deep color saturation. Lighter shades often described as vanilla, light honey, champagne and light gold can of lesser value.


6. Size

The size of the pearls also effect value. A larger pearl with similar other value factors will be more valuable than a smaller one. However, there is a size range where values increase exponentially. South Sea pearls average between 12mm to 13mm. As a result, pearls at or under that size range are more readily available. When the size range increases to 13mm to 14m and subsequent 14mm to 15mm and greater than 16mm ranges, the value increases dramatically. Pearls larger than 20mm are very rare.


Where To Buy?

Very few strands with very high ratings in all the above value factors are regularly available on the fine jewelry market. As a result, be ready to research and shop around. I personally like online stores as they tend to have less overhead expenses passed on to you, the customer. This often results in lower prices. However, it is very helpful to see and touch real strands as well.

Here are a few factors to look for when choosing where to buy to buy your pearls

A. Friendly and knowledgeable staff

B. Good and varied selection of pearls

C. Excellent return policy - Minimum of 30 days for a full refund


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Norma Jones is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at http://www.PearlsOnly.com. PearlsOnly is an internet based eCommerce business that provides high quality pearl jewelry direct to consumers. Our goal is complete customer satisfaction with the best selection of the finest pearls anywhere. We leverage our multinational presences to offer our clients high quality pearls, with above-and-beyond customer service at incredible prices. Visit us online at http://www.PearlsOnly.com or call us at 1(888)834-4148.

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