Know the Different Types of Pearls before Buying


Buying a pearl can seem to be a very daunting task especially for those who have no or very little knowledge about it. This difficult task can however, become very simple with a little research. It goes without saying that pearl necklaces are generally judged on the basis of the quality, color, style and make. Thus it is important to know and understand the difference in the pearl varieties available before finalizing on one.

Main difference

There are two types of pearl available in the markets today—the natural pearl and the cultured pearl. The natural pearl is extremely costly since they are a rare find and thus unless otherwise mentioned all the pearl that is sold is generally cultured pearl.

Different cultured pearl variety

Depending on their mode and place of production the cultured pearl can be classified into:

  • Akoya

With a size range of about 5 mm to 11 mm, the Akoya pearl is classically white in color with just a hint of cream, silver and rose. They are also perfectly round in shape.

  • South Sea

Cultured pearl famed in the South Sea typically come in the size range of 9 mm to 18 mm and range in color from the deeper tones of gold to the silky silver. The dark golden variety of this pearl is considered to be a very rare and extremely valuable occurrence. They are either round, perfect or somewhat near and baroque in shape.

  • Freshwater

These come in the widest natural color range right from the white to the pink and lavender and can also be dyed into myriad other color options. These also range in size from 2 mm to about 18 mm and occur in shapes of button, round and near round and baroque.

  • Tahitian

Available in the size range of 9 mm to 16 mm, these cultured pearls are the only ones which come in an all black natural body color. Other colors formed include the dark greens, the light silver etc., while they are either round or near round and baroque shaped.

Pearl farming has made it possible to get impart a wide variety of color to the cultured pearl there increasing the beauty of pearlnecklaces. Some of the more popular colors include the classical white, the exotic black pearls with overtones of blue, green and gray, the flirty peach, lavender and pink etc.  

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