HOW TO BUY PEARLS
As with any jewelry purchase, the beauty (to the buyer) must always be considered. If you are just interested in a bargain, or are encouraged to purchase an item because it is fashionable, or rare or even “one of a kind,” you will probably not enjoy wearing your jewelry as much as if you purchase an item that you consider attractive.
With pearls, the nacre, or coating that gives the soft sheen, builds up to approximately .4mm if the oyster is in the water for about 1 ½ years. Thicker nacre usually produces more lustrous pearls. In trying to hurry the process along, some pearl farmers are reducing the time spent in the water. This reduces the thickness of the nacre and affects the beauty and longevity of the pearls. Very thin nacre tends to wear off and chip.
Things to look for when considering a strand of pearls:
- Do the beads match in size and color?
- Consider the nacre thickness. Ask the jeweler, look at the drill hole, ask for it to be noted on an appraisal.
- Are the beads smooth without obvious bumps, pits and chips?
- Do you like the overall color and shape?
The nicer the pearls, the more expensive they will be. Just remember that you want these to be beautiful and to last.
*these guidelines work with any pearls, although this list was developed with Japanese cultured akoya in mind
*drill hole refers to the hole that is drilled completely through the pearl to string it, or the half-drilled for a post for a ring or earring