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How Much Are My Pearls Worth?

How Much Are My Pearls Worth? Featured Image

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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I had an outstanding experience dealing with Paula to sell a watch. Professional. In every aspect of the transaction, Paula was clear, accurate, knowledgeable, and very pleasant to read more deal with. I found this business through reading other reviews and decided to try. I’m writing to add my voice to the many who have had a great experience with DEJB. I will look no where else for future transactions – I recommend you do the same and contact them first.

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Paul K.

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We contacted Carl to sell approximately 25 pieces of estate jewelry. He was extremely responsive and followed up the same day. His secretary was fantastic getting us an appointment read more quickly. Carl spent a long time explaining the pricing, appraisals, value, and process and made us feel very comfortable selling to him. We are extremely pleased with the entire experience and will definitely recommend him to others!

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I can’t express how much Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers’ employees will go to bat for you. Over a period of 2 weeks working with them on a piece of jewelry and a watch, I truly felt read more they understood the way my wife and I felt about those two pieces. I especially want to thank Paula and Jacqueline for going above and beyond to get us the cash to make my wife’s dreams come true. Thanks again to Paula and Jacqueline for a job well done.

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Absolutely seamless sale of a two tone Rolex Submariner. The buy bid was honored, no changing of bid after receiving the watch. As far as I am concerned this is the only place to sell read more your jewelry and watches. Paula was super professional and easy to do business with. I was a little apprehensive, but after reading all of the reviews, I felt confident, and so should you.

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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.

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Michelle M.

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I needed to sell a 2 carat diamond and based on the excellent reviews, I decided to contact Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers. I sent an email with the GIA report details and within 30 read more minutes I had a response from Paula with an estimated offer. After deciding to move forward, Paula emailed me shipping instructions and a prepaid FedEx label. I shipped my diamond and everything went incredibly smoothly. Paula, the buying consultant with whom I worked, was incredibly responsive and knowledgeable. I am absolutely thrilled with my experience and would recommend Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers to anyone looking to work with true professionals.

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Melissa N.

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Exceedingly pleased and impressed with this service. I worked with Paula who is professional, personal, and accountable. Everything happened as said from beginning to end, which was read more hard to believe at first. I re-read reviews even after I boxed up my items because of the anxiety! Paula helped normalize a sentimental event and held my trust throughout the whole process (which was actually very fast and exactly to description). Highly recommended and would use again without hesitation. Thank you Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers, especially Paula!

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Jesse S.

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When deciding to sell a special piece of jewelry, especially when you are sentimentally attached to it, it is very difficult to part with it. Then I realized that I would never wear read more it and keeping it in a box for years and years was useless. So I “made the call” to Lori after doing a little background reading of Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers. I was apprehensive about sending jewelry through the mail but it went very well and I was pleasantly surprised. Am I sure I received the best price? I have no way of knowing, but I was happy with what they offered and I am satisfied. I will no doubt use their services again.

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Kathi B.

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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.

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Barbara M.

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Thank you so much Paula for your professional handling of my heirloom diamond. When we first talked on the phone, your totally professional and knowledgeable demeanor regarding the read more diamond business assuaged any trepidation I had about sending my diamond. I was impressed with the way you shopped my diamond to get me the best possible price. When we agreed on the price the money was wired to my account within the hour. Well done! I will not hesitate to recommend Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers to my friends and will tell them to ask for you by name!

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About Diamond Estate

Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers is a leading fine jewelry buyer and watch buyer serving customers throughout the US. We've built our business on core values of integrity, honesty, and superior customer service. Are you looking to sell diamonds, rings, watches, earrings or other fine jewelry? Get in touch to get your no-obligation offer.

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Diamond Estate President and Founder Carl Blackburn was interviewed in 2009 by KUSI Television, along with the Better Business Bureau's Sheryl Bilbrey, as one of San Diego's trustworthy and reputable jewelry buyers.

Ten Years later, Diamond Estate still maintains its A+ standing with the Better Business Bureau, while helping sellers nationwide become better informed through the many videos, guides, and articles published on this website.

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