If you are searching for the best pearls to buy, then there are some important considerations that you must make. Buying a pearl is not simply about picking the one that looks the prettiest. Things such as where it was grown and the method used will determine the quality of the pearl.
- How the pearl is grown
There are two types of pearls when you consider the method used to grow the pearl—natural and cultured. A natural pearl is grown when a piece of shell or sand finds itself in an oyster. The oyster will then coat the sediment with layers upon layers of nacre. This glossy substance hardens over time to form the pearl.
A cultured pearl is grown in a laboratory where a grain of sand is placed in an oyster. There is no difference between the two and they look exactly the same.
- Freshwater vs sea pearls
Fresh water pearls are different from saltwater pearls in that they are gotten from mussels while saltwater pearls are gotten from oysters. Both can come in different colors.
- Different oyster species make different types of pearls
Akoya pearls are the classic definition of what pearls look like but keep in mind there are other types and colors. They are milky white though they can have a silver or golden hue to them.
South Sea black pearls come from black lipped oysters that are found off the coast of Tahiti. They are larger in size and have a distinctive black hue to them.
South Sea white pearls are produced by the silver lipped white oyster found along the coasts of Burma, Indonesia, Okinawa, Australia. They are white and quite large.
South Sea gold pearls are among the rarest types of pearls and are produced by the gold lipped oysters found along the coasts of Tahiti.
Cortez pearls, grown in Mexico using the rainbow lipped oysters are often found in a variety of colors with the most sought after being a pistachio green which is dark and has rainbow overtones.
So, a pearl will come in different colors from what we’ve gathered so far. However, there are two aspects to consider when looking at the color of the pearl.
The first is the body color which is the base of the pearl and the second is the overtone or sheen. To make the best choice, always observe the pearl against a purely white background.
Note that completely rounded pearls are rare and most will have a lumpy surface. They may also not be completely smooth which is often due to other bodies brushing on the surface of the pearl as it is being made.
Keep the above points in mind while buying pearls.