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Pearls Buying Guide: How Much Is a Pearl Necklace

Coco Chanel once famously said that “a woman should have ropes and ropes of pearls.” Federico Fellini thought that a pearl is the oyster’s autobiographical art. Pearls have been seriously loved by many. Its elegance, rarity, and allure make pearl necklaces a must in any well-rounded jewelry collection. But how much does pearl jewelry cost? And how do you find the right pearls for you?

 

Prices can range a whole lot depending on the types of pearls. Unless you’re a professional jeweler, it can be difficult to know all the differences between pearl types and how to shop for them. But don’t worry. We put together  an explanatory guide to help you know just how much your anniversary necklace, Mother’s Day gift, or next splurge purchase will cost you. Keep reading to learn about the various types of pearls, how to tell them apart, and how much they cost.

Cultured pearls vs. natural (wild) pearls

There is a common misconception that cultured pearls are not real. Cultured pearls are real and they make up most of the pearl jewelry on the market today. Experts grow cultured pearls inside oysters at specific farms. They surgically implant a tiny shell bead with a small piece of mantle tissue. Around the bead, the oyster will secret the substance that pearls are made of (the nacre). Millions of oysters are produced every year but only 5% of them actually make high-grade pearls. Pearl farmers select each pearl manually and only a few of them make it to the market.

Wild pearls, on the other hand, go through the same process without implantation (AKA naturally). Fishers find them by total chance and it may take thousands of oysters to find a good quality pearl. This process, as you can imagine, makes for way more expensive pearls. Only a handful of collectors offer natural pearls and a wild pearl necklace can cost over $1 million. Cultured pearl necklaces are way more affordable gifts or new jewelry collection additions.

 

The four types of cultured pearls

Since they are way more accessible and affordable, let’s talk about the variety of cultured pearls and how much you can expect to pay for a beaded necklace of each.

Freshwater pearls

Freshwater pearls grow in–you guessed it–freshwater oysters. They are the most common type of pearls and are very versatile and affordable. Usually, a freshwater pearl is somewhere between 6 and 10 mm but it can reach as large as 15 mm. They range in color from pink to white to lavender and their shape can be round, button, or baroque. A pearl necklace made of freshwater pearls is perfect for any occasion. Usually, the price of a freshwater pearl necklace ranges from $50 to $1500.

Ayoka pearls

Ayoka pearls represent the classic pearl necklace. They are cultivated in saltwater and are harvested from the Ayoka oyster. These pearls were the first ones to be farmed and are known for their perfectly round shape and elegant luster. They are smaller than freshwater pearls, with sizes ranging from 6 to 9 mm. Usually, an Ayoka pearl necklace costs between $70 and $3,000. Pearl sellers may try to market freshwater pearls as Ayoka pearls or as wild ones. Keep in mind, almost all pearls on the market are cultured pearls.

Tahitian pearls

Tahitian pearls (AKA black pearls) are known for their extraordinary and rich color. Tahitian pearls come in charcoal, dark green, aubergine, or silver. Tahitian pearls are the only pearls that achieve a dark color naturally and their size ranges from 8 to 14 mm. Tahitian pearl necklaces make great gifts for people who love standout, unique pieces. These beauties can vary between $300 and $18,000.

South Sea pearls

This type of pearl is the largest and most valuable on the market. Oysters in Australia, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Philippines produce South Sea pearls. Their color ranges from light silver to beautiful dark golden tones. The dark golden variety is the most valuable and rare. The price of a strand of South Sea pearls can vary between $800 and $50,000.

 

Pearl Jewelry with a High Luster by Ana Luisa

In general, price variations depend on several factors like the pearl shape (the round ones are usually more expensive), its surface (the cleaner, the more expensive), its luster (a high luster means a higher price) and its size. You can never go wrong with pearls if you are looking to buy that perfect anniversary necklace or a fantastic Mother’s Day gift. Check out our variety of versatile, sleek pearl jewelry to find your perfect staple accessories.

 

Don't miss out on the opportunity to elevate your look with Ana Luisa's pearl jewelry collection

 

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