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Market Research Group

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Gennady Belyakov
Gennady Belyakov


Buying pearls can be a daunting and difficult task for the uninitiated but with a little bit of research, you'll be able to choose the best pearls based on the quality, style, and color to make the task more interesting and enjoyable. The goal of this page is to be a simple primer for those new to shopping for pearl jewelry.Read More: How Much Are Pearls Worth


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All pearls sold on the retail market are "cultured pearls" unless otherwise labeled as natural pearls. Many jewelers and consumers mistakenly label Freshwater pearls as "cultured pearls". but this is misleading since Akoya, Freshwater, Tahitian and South Sea Pearls are all "cultured pearls". To avoid confusion knowledgeable dealers and consumers will refer to pearls by their correct pearl type.

Decide what type of pearl suits your style and budget. A strand of pearls can range from $35 - $35,000+, so understanding the different Types of Pearls and pearl prices will help you narrow down your choice.

Never before has such a wide range of pearl colors been available. White is the classic, versatile color choice and many believe that a woman's first pearl necklace should always be a white strand. "Black" pearls are not actually black but dark shades of gray, greens and blues and give an exotic look that works especially well with darker skin tones. Pink, peach and lavender shades are fun and flirty, perfect for spring and summer wear but when color matched correctly - an outfit can look incredibly sophisticated as well.

Only purchase from a company with a solid return policy.Pearl always look great in a photograph or showroom but may appear different in natural lighting, so it's important to be able to exchange or return your pearls if necessary.

Purchase from a retailer that specializes in pearls.99% of all jewelers are uneducated, misinformed or simply ignorant when it comes to cultured pearls, many don't understand the product they are selling.

Don't get hung up on brand names.Tiffany's and Mikimoto both are known for high quality goods, by no means do they have a monopoly on high quality pearls. Savings of thousands of dollars can be had if you do your research.

A simple method to check if a pearl is real or imitation is the "Tooth Test".Gently slide the pearl across the front of your teeth; if it feels smooth then it's a fake, as real pearls feel gritty.

EVERY TYPE OF PEARL NECKLACE DIRECT FROM THE specializes in fine cultured Japanese Akoya and Hanadama pearls, exotic Tahitian and South Sea pearls as well as colorful fine Freshwater pearl necklaces. We offer every color of the pearl rainbow: from timeless white pearls, to exotic black hues, gorgeous goldens and even blue! For help selecting the perfect pearl color, we recommend reading The Ultimate Guide to Pearl Colors first, which features an in-depth breakdown of each pearl color by pearl type, as well as our trademark real-life pearl photos to show you what they look like in real life.

Our Pearl Necklace Collection features the finest luxury pearls in the world, without the exorbitant brand-name mark-ups. Choose from classic single strand necklaces, or add long, lustrous pearl rope necklaces or double and triple-strand styles to round out your pearl jewelry collection. Our Tahitian Pearl Necklace collection features one of a kind, unique layouts selected by Ashley herself for incredibly saturated colors, or in the case of her Baroque Pearl Necklace selections, whimsical, artistic layouts. Our pearls are sourced direct from the pearl farms overseas, and are individually double-knotted by hand to order, here at our Los Angeles, CA workshop using only the finest cultured pearls from around the world, matching silk and 14K Gold clasps and findings.

Cultured pearls come in 5 main varieties: Akoya, Tahitian, Freshwater, White and Golden South Seas and Sea of Cortez pearls. Each type of pearl has its own unique beauty to... Read More

It has been said before that the world of pearls offers a rainbow of color to choose from, and it is never so more true than today. Pearls offer an astonishing array of colors for everyone to lo... Read More

Costco carries a stunning selection of cultured pearls, which includes Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian, and freshwater. Our diverse selection of pearl jewelry is available in a variety of styles and designs, from classic to contemporary. Whether you choose a luxurious strand of golden south sea pearls or a delicate pair of freshwater pearl earrings, a quality piece of pearl jewelry, when cared for properly, can be enjoyed for many years.

Renowned for its brilliance and luster, the versatile freshwater pearl comes in an incredible array of shapes, colors, and sizes. It is the most widely produced pearl on the market, and therefore, the most affordable. They come in several natural colors, including white, pink, and multi-pink. Freshwater pearls look very similar to Akoya pearls, but are much lower in price. This cultured pearl is farmed from mussels in freshwater settings, like ponds and lakes, and it is common to find multiple pearls inside one mussel.

Prized for their brilliant luster and lovely round shape, the cultured Akoya pearl is the perfect choice for jewelry, particularly pearl strand necklaces. This elegant pearl comes in soft white or cream colors, with luminous overtones of silver, cream, or pink. Many people consider the Akoya to be a classic example of the definitive white pearl. The majority of cultured Akoya pearls are produced in Japan. Due to their naturally round shape and high luster, they are one of the most sought-after types of pearls on the market.

Cultured Tahitian pearls are thought to be the most magnificent pearls on the market. They are large in size and come in exotic black and gray colors with gorgeous iridescent overtones of green, blue, silver, purple, and brown. This stunning saltwater pearl is farmed from the black lip oyster, which is primarily found in Tahiti and French Polynesia. Tahitian pearls are often used for bold and glamorous jewelry designs.

The large and luxurious South Sea pearl comes in an array of sumptuous colors, including white, cream, champagne, yellow, and gold. This cultured saltwater pearl is farmed from the rare white-lipped pinctada maxima oyster, which is primarily found in Australia. Due to its sensitive growing conditions and extended cultivation period, South Sea pearls are rare and very expensive. This show-stopping pearl is often used in high-end jewelry pieces, like rings or pendants.

Unlike diamonds, pearls do not have a global standardized grading system. Therefore, Costco does not list grades on our pearl items. Our process ensures our pearls have good luster, shape, color and no obvious blemishes, and that the size of the pearls match where applicable. Quality factors to look for when choosing the right pearl:

Pearls come in several colors, the most familiar being white, cream, pink, gold, silver, and black. Many pearls also have a secondary surface color, or iridescent overtones, which is visible in certain types of reflective light. For instance, a strand of cream colored pearls may, at second glance, have a light blush overtone.

When the surface layers, or nacre, of a pearl are being formed, common imperfections can occur, including spots and bubbles. These imperfections directly affect the value of the pearl. Pearls that have the smoothest surface are considered the best quality.

Pearls come in four basic shapes: round, off-round, drop, and baroque. Of course, round is the most desirable shape because of its symmetry and marketability. Off-round are nearly perfect, but may be mildly extended or flattened. Drop pearls are oval or pear-shaped, and often used for earrings. And baroque pearls are very unique and irregular in shape, no two are exactly alike.

Most pearls on the market today have had some degree of treatment or enhancement, which is standard practice in the pearl industry. The most common treatments are bleaching, polishing, and in some cases, dying. This is done to improve the pearls luster and overall appearance. Costco does carry some treated and enhanced pearls.

Despite their huge price difference, both cultured and natural pearls are real pearls. They are grown from pearl-bearing oysters in either saltwater or freshwater. The pearl formation process is exactly the same for both natural and cultured pearls.

The only difference between the two lies in the external irritant that causes a pearl to form inside the oyster shell. In the case of natural pearls, this external intruder can be a grain of sand or a parasite, and the pearl is formed completely without any human assistance. Whereas for cultured pearls, the irritant is either a piece of tissue from another oyster or a bead that is placed by pearl farmers to encourage the growth of a pearl.

Now you can see why natural pearls are potentially more valuable than cultured pearls. This is because the occurrence of natural pearls is much rarer than cultured pearls. Almost all real pearls you see today are cultured.

Regardless of how pearls are formed, whether natural or cultured, most pearls harvested have an average to low quality. Fine quality pearls are very rare. This is largely due to the nature of pearl growth inside the oyster. The oyster secretes nacre slowly to coat the intruder layers after layers. It is the same substance that makes mother-of-pearl, the shiny surface on the inner side of the shell. As an organic gem, these layers of nacre are not always evenly distributed to form a tight structure. Hence the quality varies drastically. In other words, most natural pearls, if found, rarely have qualities that worth a fortune.

Generally speaking, saltwater pearls cost more than freshwater pearls. This is because saltwater pearl-bearing oysters can only grow 1 pearl (or 2 at the most in the case of Akoya) while freshwater pearl oysters can yield up to 50 pearls in one growth cycle. 041b061a72


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