HOME NEW Pearl Education Beading Q & A Tools Jewelry Tech Video Jewelry Glossary

How to Buy Pearls

How can we buy the perfect pearls jewelry we need?

Pearl Grading

Judging the quality and value of pearls isnot an easy task. The multitude of pearl types and grading standards canoverwhelm even the informed consumer. The best way to go about it is toconcentrate on the following quality factors.



Luster is the most important quality factorand is the light reflection from a pearl. It is the deep glow from within andthe mirror like reflection on the surface that is unique to pearls. Highquality pearls are bright and shiny and your reflection in the pearl should bedistinct and clear. Low quality pearls exhibit a chalky and dull appearance,with weak reflections. Nacre quality determines the luster of a pearl, andpearls with thick and healthy nacre have the highest luster.


Only pearls with extraordinary levels ofluster are selected for Mikura and we always recommend never to compromise onluster.


Surface Texture

Surface texture is the skin of the pearland an important characteristic. The surface of high quality pearls should beclean and smooth and free of blemishes and marks. Subtle blemishes and tinymarks that do not detract from the overall surface texture are common and arepart of a pearl’s natural texture. They usually occur when sea particles driftinto an oyster and brush against the pearl as it forms. Pearls with a smoothand blemish free surface indicate a high quality pearl and are more valuable.



Pearls are available in a wide colorpalette, and color is more a matter of personal preference then quality. Alwayslook for pearls that have a deep and even distribution of color and thisdenotes a higher quality and hence more valuable pearl. The value of a color isin its combination of rarity and popularity. Some colors like peacock green andgolden are naturally rare and hence more valuable, while white and pink rosecolors are extremely popular for Akoya, South Sea and Freshwater pearls,driving up their value.



Pearls are available in many unique shapesfrom the classic round and drop to more contemporary baroque shapes. Perfectlyround pearls are the rarest, most desired and most expensive shapes across allpearl types. Innovative designers will often create jewelry using drop, ovaland baroque pearls, creating an unconventional look at a more affordable price.Quality is not necessary dictated by the shape of the pearl; some highly prizedbaroques are known to exhibit truly extraordinary levels of luster.



Size as well has little bearing on thequality of pearls, but has a major effect on the price. Large pearls aredifficult to cultivate, with oysters often rejecting large nuclei, this raritydrives up the value of large sized pearls. A pearl’s size is expressed in termsof its diameter, which is measured in millimeters (mm). Pearls can be smallerthen 1 mm and as large as 20 mm.


Matching is extremely important in anecklace, bracelet or pair of earrings. Due to the inherent nature of pearls,no two pearls are alike and there was will always be minute differences inshape, size, color and luster between two pearls. Yet it is extremely importantto carefully and expertly select the right pearls to set in a necklace,bracelet or pair of earrings to maintain the uniformity of each. Ideally,pearls should blend homogeneously into a piece of jewelry and should not standout due to their physical differences.


A well matched necklace, bracelet or pairof earrings is the mark of a high quality piece of pearl jewelry and representsthe expertise and quality of the brand behind it. It is usually only in thecapacity of those specialized in pearls and with the resources to execute truehigh quality matching. This reflects in the costs of high quality pearls, asthe matching process can sometimes involve selecting just two evenly matchedpearls from an assortment of more then one thousand pearls.


The higher the quality of pearls used inthe matching process, the more difficult it gets, as the supply of high qualitycomplementary pearls is extremely limited compared to more sub-standard pearlswhich are readily available.