Are Pearls Expensive?
Pearls are one of the most iconic and popular natural gemstones found anywhere in the world. A string of them can range in price from just $50 to thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, pounds or euros.
But how much is the pearl worth, what is the price of the pearl, and how is this value determined?
To answer this question, you will need to understand the true value of pearls, how values fluctuate, and how different pearls are priced in various ways. Here's everything you should know about pearl value.
How Much are Real Pearls Worth?
Most pearls on the market are cultured, which means they are grown and harvested on special pearl farms. The art of cultured pearls not only brought pearl jewelry to the masses, but likely saved natural pearls from total extinction. Cultured pearls, like lab-grown diamonds, are 100% real pearls and indistinguishable from wild pearls. However, they are more affordable and available. Even so, there are many varieties of cultured pearls.
How Much is South Sea Pearl Worth?
These are the most expensive of the pearl varieties available on the market. This pearl grows so large that it is called the Rolls Royce of pearls. South Sea pearls come in two colors—gold and white—and can grow to impressive sizes.
A loose South Sea pearl can range from $150 to $4000, but please note that this is an approximation and may vary based on various other factors. A string of South Sea pearls can range from $1,500 to $15,000.
How Much is a Black Pearl Worth?
As the only natural dark pearls available, Tahitian pearls are naturally more expensive than dyed black freshwater pearls. Tahitian pearls also grow very large, and what makes them stand out is the oil slick-like color overtones that can be seen on the surface of the pearl. The more visible this peacock feather effect is, the more expensive the stone will be.
Generally speaking, bulk Tahitian pearls can range from $70 to around $1,500.
How Much are Akoya Pear Worth?
The cheapest among seawater pearls, Akoya pearls are the most abundant and best known. These gems were the first to be cultivated and have acquired a reputation for elegance, sophistication, affordability and accessibility. Akoya pearls with silver or blue tints are much more expensive than regular varieties.
The average Akoya chain price ranges from $300 to $3000.
How Much are Freshwater Pearls Worth?
Unlike other pearl varieties, freshwater pearls are the cheapest of all pearl varieties and are cultured in freshwater resources. This makes them cheaper than seawater pearls for reasons such as shorter growing times and simpler farming techniques.
Freshwater chains, also known as fashion-forward pearl types, range in price from $50 to $2,000.
You can check this article: How to Tell the Difference Between Freshwater and Akoya Pearls
What Else Affects the Value of Pearls?
Regardless of variety, all pearls are graded according to seven value factors defined by the Gemological Institute of America: size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality, and matching.
When all other value factors are equal, larger pearls will be more valuable than smaller pearls. However, a smaller size high quality pearl is almost always more valuable than a larger, lower quality pearl.
Each pearl type has a different size range:
Freshwater pearls are about 4mm wide and can be up to 15mm wide.
Akoya pearls range from 3mm to about 10mm.
Tahitian pearls range from 10mm to 18mm.
South Sea pearls range in diameter from 8mm to 20mm.
Of all the pearl varieties, the perfect round gem will be the most valuable. Even on a pearl farm, there is only so much pearl formation we can control. In any given year, only about 3% of the total pearl harvest is perfectly round.
Other shapes include non-circular, descending, and baroque. Paired pendant pearls are very popular in earrings, and certain unique baroque pearls can be quite expensive when used in creative designs, but in most cases these non-round pearls are discounted.
For many people, color is the number one attraction for pearls. Whether it's the raw ivory color of a classic akoya chain, the elegant golden sheen of a South Sea pearl, or the soft brushed lavender hue on a more contemporary freshwater necklace, the range of colors in pearl jewelry means there's always something to suit every style.
In general, more unusual colors will be more valuable than more common ones. The price of gold South Sea pearls is always high. Unique freshwater colors like purple and bronze always sell fast. Tahitian pearls are available in a variety of colors, with colors such as cherry red and eggplant purple commanding the highest prices.
When looking at white pearls, yellow overtones are considered less valuable than silver or rose pearls.
Luster is probably the most important value factor in determining the beauty of a pearl. This is the "light" from inside the pearl, made up of thin layers of nacre that reflect the light again and again.
You can tell if your pearls have a good luster by looking at the reflections on the surface of the pearls. Edges will be sharp and sharp, and reflections will have high contrast, meaning bright areas will be very white, while darker areas will be deep and rich. Akoya pearls are known for their sharp specular luster, while freshwater and South Sea pearls tend to have softer surface reflections.
Poor quality pearls don't show much light and shade, and the different shades blur together.
If you are familiar with diamonds, you probably have an idea of how they are graded for clarity. Pearls are graded in much the same way, although their clarity characteristics will be on the surface rather than the interior.
The surfaces should be smooth and flawless so that light can pass through them unhindered. It is natural for pearls to have some light-colored surface markings because they are organically formed. Many pearls will have tiny imperfections that show that they are authentic and unique. They become a problem when the marks are numerous and conspicuous enough to detract from the beauty of the pearl.
Nacre quality is related to luster. In this case, it refers to the thickness of the nacre surrounding the central nucleus, or the implanted irritant. Freshwater and natural pearls contain degradable irritants such as skin tissue. This means that as the pearl grows, the core dissolves, leaving only the nacre throughout the entire pearl.
Seawater pearls, on the other hand, are nucleated with beads made of shells or plastic, around which a nacre layer grows. If the nacre is very thin, you may see black shadows where the beads show through - this indicates poor nacre quality. The nacre should be thick, which contributes to the durability of the pearl and the effect of the light we call luster.
This is a quality consideration for pearl chains as well as earring sets and brooches with multiple pearls. It will not work with pearl rings or other items with only one gem, such as tie pins.
Because pearls have such a wide range of overtones, it is imperative to choose gems that match well. This is especially true of Tahitian pearls, which come in a variety of shades. Pearls should be of the same or complementary color, with a subtle gradient in size rather than abrupt breaks like a ladder, and as close to the same shape as possible. In pearl necklaces, the color of the thread should match the body color of the pearl.
Some pearl necklaces are made of multiple complementary colors. In these cases, the colors should be balanced and the necklace should look like a unified whole, not a mess.
HER’S Style Pearls
We have a range of pearl jewellery to choose from that makes the perfect gift or even a treat for yourself. We use cultured freshwater pearls that look amazing and are very durable and all sets are a perfect match.
Also Read:How Much is A Pearl Necklace