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How Much Are My Pearls Worth?

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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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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.

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Working with Carl was probably one of the most straight forward, uncomplicated transactions I've experienced. After leaving a voicemail I received a prompt text and then a call where read more Carl clearly explained the process. I immediately felt confident that I was working with the right buyer to sell my Rolex. After sending clear pictures of the timepiece, Carl followed up with a phone call and quoted me a very competitive price. We agreed to the deal, I sent the timepiece fully insured through FedEx at his cost and after he had confirmed receipt and saw the timepiece he wired the money directly to my bank account. I highly recommend working with Carl. He's a man of his word and runs a top notch business.

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Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers are good as it gets. Alex is a true professional who understands the importance of attention to detail. I was hesitant at first to sell my Rolex to a business read more where I would have to ship my valuable time piece in advance of payment, but Alex reassured me of the process and offered excellent communication STEP BY STEP. Carl exceeded my expectations in standing by their initial appraisal and I simply could not be happier with the entire process timeline (48hrs start to finish). If I could give them 6 stars instead of 5 I would.

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I had never sold anything online before, so was a little nervous about selling my Rolex. Based on Yelp reviews, I visited DEJB’s website and was pretty impressed. Worked with Paula read more to text some pics and got an estimate within hours. I got estimates from three other places and DEJB was right in line with two others, but was a touch higher. Based on the great customer service, I went with DEJB. Once I said I was in, Paula got me the prepaid, secure, insured shipping information within hours. Once received, they let me know my Rolex was as described and wired the full amount immediately. What else can I say? Fast, secure, friendly, fair – what more can you ask?

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Scott E.

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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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When I was thinking about selling a piece of jewelry I had, I looked at several different places. I just kept coming back to DEJB. I called, spoke with Paula & she was wonderful to read more work with. So friendly & knowledgeable. She explained everything to me from the first phone call. She really put my mind at ease. My transaction was quick & easy. Paula & Carl were so easy to work with. I will definitely work with them again. Thank you Paula & Carl for everything!

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Rhonda 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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I’m so happy that I found this amazing jeweler! The easiest and fastest transaction I’ve had. I sold my Cartier Roadster to them in 24 hours I had the money wired into my account. read more They are pleasant and honest people who will take good care of you! I highly recommend them!

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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 was very happy with the service I received with this company and Paula made it very easy for me to follow all directions!!! I would definitely do business here again and recommend read more them to my friends!!!....Mickie

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