Pearl value is determined by size, shape, color, luster, and surface and nacre quality.
If you are looking to sell a pearl necklace or other item of pearl jewelry, the first question on your mind is likely, “How much are my pearls worth?” There are various factors which impact the value of pearls, and we will cover each one in this article on appraising the value of pearl gems.
Pearls are naturally occurring gems formed by concentric deposits of calcium carbonate crystals in the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusc. While ideal pearls are perfectly round and smooth, the natural process that creates them rarely leads to perfection. Pearls occurring spontaneously in the wild are known as natural pearls, and are quite rare indeed. Most pearls used in jewelry today are cultured or farmed pearls from freshwater mussels or pearl oysters. Imitation pearls are used for inexpensive jewelry, and are easily distinguished from their real counterparts.
Natural and cultured pearls are judged by the same standards of quality. Their overall value is determined by size, shape, color, luster, and surface and nacre quality.
How Pearl Size Affects Value
If all other quality factors for a given pearl are the same, a larger pearl will always be more valuable, as larger pearls take longer to form and are simply more rare. Pearl size is expressed in terms of its diameter, which is measured in millimeters. Cultured pearl types generally have specific size ranges, and prices for them can vary widely according to what the type of pearl is being considered.
For instance, Japanese Akoya and Freshwater pearls generally occur in sizes from 2.0 mm to 12 mm, and Tahitian and South Sea pearls tend to be much larger, from 9.0 mm to 20.0 mm. Since a 12.0 mm Akoya pearl is much more rare than a 12.0 mm South Sea pearl, The Akoya pearl would command a higher price.
How Pearl Shape Affects Value
The most prized shape for a pearl is, of course, perfectly round, but round is the most difficult shape to culture. Pearls are often divided into four basic groups of shapes: round, off-round, semi-baroque, and baroque. If all other quality factors are the same, a round pearl will be more valuable than one slightly out of round, and the value will decrease accordingly as they approach the very irregular and uneven baroque shape. Occasionally, a well-formed oval, pear, or baroque pearl can be highly valued for its uniqueness and rarity.
How Pearl Color Affects Value
Pearls are most often thought of as a classic, creamy white, but pearls do occur naturally in a wide range of colors, from white, yellow, pink, and golden, to blue and black and most colors in between. Most pearl colors tend to be muted and soft.
Color in pearls can have three components: body color, the pearl’s dominant color; overtone, the translucent color or colors that lie over the pearl’s body color; and orient, the rainbow iridescence on or below the pearl’s surface. While all pearls have body color, only some will display orient, overtone, or both.
The most common color for pearls ranges from cream to a silvery white, and black pearls are the most rare. Fashion, as well as the laws of supply and demand, often determines which color pearls are the most valuable.
Color in pearls also varies with pearl type. Akoya pearls are generally the classic white with rose, cream, and silver overtones. Freshwater pearls produce a wide variety of colors, with the most common being lavender and peach. White South Sea cultured pearls generally have a white body color with rose and silver overtones; and Golden South Sea Pearls can vary from a light champagne color to deep golden body colors, with the darker varieties commanding higher prices. Tahitian pearls tend to have darker body colors like grey and green, with pink to dark green overtones.
How Pearl Luster Affects Value
Of all the factors that determine a pearl’s value, luster is by far the most important. Luster is a basically the reflective brilliance of a pearl, and describes the quality and quantity of light that is reflected from the surface and just below the surface of the pearl. Luster is what gives pearls their unique beauty.
A pearl’s luster is described by the nature of its reflective qualities. Pearls with excellent or high luster will have bright, mirror-like reflections, with sharp and distinct edges. A pearl with low luster will appear chalky or milky, giving a poor reflection. Of pearls that are the same type, with other quality factors being equal, pearls with higher luster are always more valuable.
How Pearl Surface And Nacre Quality Affect Value
Some pearls can exhibit surface imperfections, like small scratches or ridges, or even slightly flattened sections. Severe or numerous imperfections can adversely affect the durability of the pearl, and decrease its value, though minor surface imperfections can often be hidden by careful mounting.
Nacre is the actual material secreted by the mollusk that creates the pearl. In cultured pearls, this nacreous layer can be of varying depths, and the depth of the nacre directly affects the luster and durability of the pearl. In a pearl with a chalky or dull appearance you can assume that the nacre is thin, and the pearl’s value will suffer as a result.
Get a Free Pearls Appraisal
Contact Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers today for a free verbal appraisal of your pearl necklace, ring, brooch, earrings, or loose pearls. You can also get the process started online by telling us about the pearl jewelry you wish to sell in the contact form below.
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Real Reviews From Customers
Extremely professional, kind, and intelligent staff. I felt confident selling my diamond ring because Paula and Jackie were honest, sincere, and communicative and made the process easy. read more I was indecisive because of the sentimental attachment to the ring but they were very patient and understanding. They didn’t just give me the quote, they answered all my questions and helped me to understand the specific reasons for the value of the diamond. I needed the money for medical bills for my daughter and it was nice to deal with people who I felt really work hard at, and care about getting the best price possible for the customer.
Contacted Paula about selling my Rolex watch, and was treated in a very professional manner. She talked me thru the whole process from start to finish; which made this transaction very read more enjoyable. The estimate I received was higher than two other companies I contacted. Straight forward, no nonsense approach. If you have any doubts about selling your jewelry please give Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers a call. You will be happy you did.
I sold a diamond engagement ring and a wedding ring. Paula was exceptional to work with. She answered all of my questions and assuaged any concerns that I had. I know the price I got read more was fair, as I had a prior gemologist look at the rings, but I was not comfortable dealing with that outfit for reasons other than the price. I am comfortable with my decision to sell, and I know I got the best offer I could get at this time. I highly recommend Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers. Thank you, Paula, for all the time you spent with me. You have immense patience and empathy.
I appreciated their professionalism and responsiveness to me. I have been deciding if I want to sell my watch. Paula kept in contact, explained the process to me and followed up with read more me each step of the way. And it was fast! I highly recommend using them if your deciding to sell some of your high end jewelry.
We had a 14 carat diamond and were nervous of mailing it out of state. We were reassured from the beginning of the easy process, but we decided to fly out to California to meet the read more people at Diamond Estate. From the very beginning we were met with professionalism and treated very well. After given a reasonable quote, we decided to get a GIA certificate for the diamond just to be sure what it was. Jackie drove us all over the place to different jewelers to look at it as well as the GIA lab. She spent a whole day making us feel at ease. Jackie took us around fully knowing that we could go with other people’s offers and still chauffeured us to each place. In the end we found exactly what we are looking for with the Help of Carl and Jackie. Great experience for 2 girls from Colorado. I would recommend them to anyone.
I inherited a vintage Rolex. About 40 years old. Though I didn’t have the original paperwork or box, DEJB were open and interested in working with me. Paula Dabney was EASY, accommodating, read more knowledgeable and comforting during the process. The initial price she quoted me was the price we ultimately agreed on after inspection. The process was quick and efficient and any concerns or questions I had were answered promptly all along the way. I’d recommend checking out these folks if you’re interested in selling watches and jewelry.
The people at Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers were professional and courteous and offered a good price for my engagement ring. I wasn’t sure I wanted to ship off my ring so I researched read more the company as much as I could until I was satisfied. Sure enough, their business with me matched up to the reputation I saw online. I highly recommend them.
I reached out to Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers to sell my husband’s Rolex. Lori was very nice, knowledgeable, & inspired trust. Most importantly to me, there was absolutely no pressure read more to proceed—I felt very comfortable with the pace of the process. Lori gave me an estimated range of what the watch would be worth, subject to adjustment based on their appraisal once their buyer was able to examine it. She provided all details and the Fed Ex labels for shipping the watch—it was not hard and I was fully confident it would go without a snag. Lori called to let me know as soon as the watch arrived. The next day it was appraised by their buyer and Lori called to let me know the adjusted price. They dealt fairly with me, so I accepted and wire transfer was made same day to my bank account. Nicely done, Lori!
Let me tell you, Paula was the best she helped me so much with my fathers watches. Money was put in my account as soon as she got the watches. I would recommend this place always thanks read more for such great service.
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