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Selecting a Pearl

[ image ]World wide cultured pearl production has increased dramatically in recent times. Cultivated pearls are now produced in many countries and this has resulted in more types of pearls, in more shapes, colors, and sizes than ever before. Naturally this has resulted in a wide range of qualities and prices. The key to lasting beauty and pleasure lies in the selection of fine cultured pearls.

As with other gems, there are specific characteristics that effect pearl quality:

Lustre
The most noticeable visual indicator of the quality and thickness of a pearls nacre; the 'pearl' layers covering the nucleus. The sharper the reflection of light on a pearl, the higher the lustre.and the better quality the pearl.

[ image ]Orient
Occurs in only a small percentage of pearls and refers to the rainbow-like colors that appear to move over the surface of a pearl.

Surface
Like any natural product, almost all cultured pearls have imperfections. Heavy blemishes will detract from the value of a pearl. Even fine quality pearls will have some surface spotting but the richer the lustre the less noticeable surface blemishes will be.

[ image ]Shape
'Round' is the most valuable shape since only about 1% of all pearls are perfect spheres. Symmetrical shapes such as button or drop pearls are also rare and highly sought after. Asymmetrical shapes known as baroque pearls are much less rare and therefore more affordable.

Color
[ image ]Pearls come in many colors and shades. The major classification are white, pink, silver, cream, gold and black. In addition fine pearls will also have a secondary color known as the overtone. Some colors such as gold or peacock green are rarer than others and therefore more valuable. However color selection should be a personal consideration complementing each individual.

Size
As the size of the pearl increases, so does it's rarity. Sizes above 17mm are extremely rare and are usually considered as collection pieces.


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