The Buyer’s Guide to Selecting the Right Pearl Jewelry

Unlike white diamonds, pearls do not have strict guidelines that determine their value. So it’s up to the buyer to find out what good pearl jewelry looks like. Here are some things a buyer should know before they buy their pearls.

Types of Pearls

To make things more complicated, there are different types of pearls. Pearls come in different colors, from pure white to black. They are not always perfectly round and come in all kinds of shapes. They can be natural or cultured, fresh water or salt water. Akoya pearls are types of cultured pearls, which means that a bead has been inserted into the oyster so the oyster can enclose it in nacre around it to form a pearl. Nacre is a material the animal secretes around an irritant. Eventually, the layers harden and form the pearl.

Pearls don’t even have to come from oysters. They can come from mussels, abalones, conches and even the chambered nautilus. The buyer should keep this in mind when they go shopping for pearls.

What Else to Consider


The pearl’s luster is how brilliantly light reflects off of its layers of nacre. It’s more than just a quality of brightness, for light doesn’t just reflect off the surface of the gem. The luster of the pearl starts inside and moves outward. A pearl that has a low luster is chalky and looks more like a bead made of white plastic than it does a pearl.

Not only this, a pearl with high luster not only reflects light sharply and beautifully, but it has overtone colors and looks good next to the buyer’s skin. Ideally, the prospective buyer should be able to hold the pearls up to their skin to check.


When shopping for an expensive item, it’s not a good idea for a buyer to grab the first example they see. When shopping for pearls, they need to compare other pearls of the same type, size, shape, color and luster. This takes time, but it’s worth it.

If It’s Too Good to Be True, It Is

If a piece of pearl jewelry is selling for a suspiciously low price, there’s probably something a bit wrong with it. Some jewelers sell pearls that look good but have a thin layer of nacre; this won’t happen with Kyllonen luxury jewelers.

Basically, the thicker the nacre, the more valuable the pearl. A buyer can tell a pearl has thin nacre if it has cracks, if the nacre has peeled away in spots or if it has a low luster.

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