Why are pearls considered valuable

This is how you can see the value of real pearls

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Important criteria for the pearl value

Pearls are real treasures. Not only is each of them absolutely unique and what makes pearl jewelry so special, they can also be extremely valuable. At an auction by the London auction house Woolley and Wallis, for example, a single pearl went up to 830,000 euros over the counter. The fabulous natural products can not only adorn the face of a woman or a man, they can also be a profitable investment.

Natural and cultured pearls are the most valuable, as they grow naturally in a shell. Whereby natural pearls are often even more valuable due to their rarity. Imitation pearls that are synthetically produced are not a worthwhile investment. So, telling these three types of pearls apart can be worth real money. When evaluating natural and cultured pearls, there are various criteria that determine the pearl value and which you should definitely consider when buying.

Tip: Would you like to buy pearl jewelry and would you like competent advice? Then contact us! We are happy to help.

Take a close look: Small details determine the value of a pearl.

The perfect shape for pearls

Pearls grow in a wide variety of shapes - from spherical to oval and teardrop-shaped. A pearl that has grown completely round is considered to be the most valuable. But depending on the piece of jewelry, extravagant and extraordinary - often in connection with pearls too Baroque - shapes are popular and underline the uniqueness of natural products.

When several pearls are used in a piece of jewelry, the interplay of size and shape is also important. The differences in size between the pearls of a piece of jewelry, such as a pearl necklace or pearl arm jewelry, are known as the gradient. Basically: The smaller the differences in the course, the better. However, the attraction of a pearl creation can also lie precisely in the fact that the course is played with.

A flawless surface

Since pearls are natural products, they can have certain flaws on their surface. These include small cracks, wrinkles, indentations, stains and dull areas. These features can arise during the growth period through external influences such as dirt or temperature fluctuations.

Basically, of course, that a pearl with fewer growth characteristics is more valuable, as one with optical imperfections. For some pearl lovers, however, growth characteristics are by no means undesirable: for them they are an expression of the naturalness of a pearl.

Luster - breathtaking pearl shine

One of the most important criteria when assessing pearls is the so-called luster, which describes the pearl's shine. A pearl can be thought of as an onion, with the individual layers made of mother-of-pearl. The way in which the light makes its way through the planes and is reflected is known as the chandelier. Pearls with a strong luster are considered to be more valuable than those with a low gloss quality and little light reflection. In the case of artificial pearls, only the top layer shines, as they do not consist of real layers of mother-of-pearl like natural or cultured pearls.

Tip: Hold the bead against a light source to see the chandelier clearly.

Layer thickness - pearls should be this thick

The thickness of the mother-of-pearl layers is one of the most important criteria as it gives an indication of the durability of a pearl. The thicker the layers of mother-of-pearl, the more durable and stronger the pearls are. A pearl can be imagined like an onion with the individual layers made of small, hexagonal mother-of-pearl plates consist.

Mother-of-pearl is made up of layers of crystalline calcium carbonate and conchiolin (a protein that is the main component of the outer skin of molluscs). The overall size of a pearl cannot be used to determine its layer thickness. The texture of the different layers has a great influence on other criteria, such as the luster and shine of a pearl.

The mother-of-pearl layers of a pearl

Where do real pearls come from?

Since only one pearl can be grown per shell with saltwater pearls and up to 30 pearls per shell with freshwater pearls, the sea pearls Akoya, Tahti and South Seas are usually more expensive than freshwater pearls and have a higher value. Furthermore, caution is advised with fake imitation pearls, these are often provided with the suffixes Akoya, Tahiti or South Pacific. However, they are completely artificial products and do not have the properties of a natural or cultured pearl. Since the South Sea pearl is on average the largest of the saltwater pearls, it is traded at the highest prices.

When choosing the pearls, pay attention to their origin.

The most beautiful colors for pearls

The impressive shimmer of a pearl can only be perceived because a pearl reflects different color spectra. A distinction is made between body color, overcolour and orient. However, these terms are not always used consistently. The body color is indisputably the main color of the pearl, which is mostly white, gray, pink or cream-colored.

The overcolour describes the shimmer of a pearl, which can only be found in the Interplay with rays of light results. If more than one color can be seen with this shimmer, it is sometimes referred to as Orient. Since color is a matter of taste and depending on the piece of jewelery, another color may be the right one, the color does not have a strong effect on the value of a pearl. A low color intensity and a weak overcolour can certainly reduce the value.

So the size determines the pearl value

As with gemstones for gemstone jewelry, the size is also a determining and determining criterion for a pearl. It is measured in millimeters: the diameter of round pearls and the height, width and depth of non-round, baroque shapes. The largest pearls are the South Sea pearls, which can be up to 20 millimeters in diameter. The average pearl size is six to twelve millimeters.

Since the size of a pearl also indirectly determines its weight, this factor is also an indicator of the value of a pearl. The weight of a pearl is usually in Carat, grain, or momme (old Japanese unit of measurement). For natural pearls, the smallest unit of grain is mainly used and for cultured pearls, carat or momme.

Rating systems for pearls

Caution is advised when evaluating pearls, because there is no statutory or even uniform system for this. In the jewelry and pearl industry, however, two systems have largely prevailed. On the one hand, this includes the AAA rating system. A pearl of the best quality receives an AAA rating. Even within this system, differences can arise depending on the type of pearl and the appraiser. The system for evaluating an Akoya pearl can be used as an example:

  • AAA: Highest quality level. The pearl has a strong luster, is round and the surface is 95% free of growth marks. The thickness of the mother-of-pearl layers is at least 0.7mm.
  • AA +: Second highest level. The pearls are almost flawless and have a maximum of 10% surface features, a glossy luster and have at least 0.5mm thick mother-of-pearl layers
  • AA: At least 80% of the surface is free from notches, scratches or other marks. The pearl's luster is shiny and the mother-of-pearl layers are at least 0.35mm thick.
  • A +: The pearl already has a very slightly non-round shape. The surface is up to 70% free of features and the mother-of-pearl layers are at least 0.2mm thick.
  • A.: The shape is out of round and the luster is not very pronounced. The mother-of-pearl layers are thinner than 0.2mm.

Important: This example table is for guidance only. Since there is no uniform and binding scale, there are deviations depending on the rating institute. Furthermore, the criteria are often individually adapted to the type of pearl, with South Sea and Tahitian pearls the A + unit is often dispensed with.

Another system for grading pearls is the A to D scale, which is also known as the “Tahitian Grading System” because it is mainly used in this region. An A roughly corresponds to the AAA. However, since these ratings are not required by law, dubious dealers can deviate from them. So you often find a pearl declared with AAAA (four A’s), although an AAA cannot be increased according to the uniformly used system.

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