Pearls – a brief introduction


What do you know about pearls? Here is a brief introduction to help you on your pearl journey.

When you mention pearls, most people immediately think of the classic round single knotted white pearl necklace. However, pearls come in a variety of sizes, shapes (eg potato, round, baroque, biwa, keshi) and colours (some dyed, some natural). Just take a look at the picture attached – can you identify the different shapes?

Pearls – a brief introduction

Having multiple choices helps pearls to maintain their classic and timeless reputation.


Diving for pearls used to be the only option available to gem collectors but now with the introduction of pearl farms, they have become more accessible. However, the size and condition of the pearl still dictates its value.

Pearl Qualities

When selecting pearls, you need to consider five criteria, namely size, shape, colour, lustre and orient. These all affect the value.

Pearls over 7mm in size increases in price faster than smaller sizes. Round pearls command a premium. You have to remember they are organic and it is rare to find a perfect round and, of course, cannot be reshaped. What you see is what you get.

Colour choice is subjective to the individual but naturally coloured pearls are treasured more than dyed / treated ones. Different types of molluscs produce different coloured pearls.

Good lustre can be demonstrated when you can see the reflection of a bare lightbulb on the surface of the pearl from a distance of about 6 feet.

The orient of the pearl is the iridescence / glow on the surface.

Myth & Legend

Pearls symbolise purity, fertility and are also know as the gem of sincerity. They have a long association with love and marriage. It is said they are worn by the bride to prevent her from crying on her wedding day.

Pearls are also the June birthstone and 30th wedding anniversary gift.

Pearl Gift

If you have a celebration coming up and would like a pearl gift, check out my shop

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If you would like to commission a piece of jewellery, please contact me at

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