With thoughts beginning to turn to finding a beautiful gift for Christmas, one of the most frequent questions that we are asked is what are the best pearls to buy.
The most popular image of the pearl is the classic round white pearl, draped in long elegant flowing strands, worn as a pretty stud earring or a classic symbolic piece of jewellery for a new bride. There are many other different wonderful colours, sizes and shapes of pearls and it can be worthwhile exploring a little more about this beautiful gem.
There are four main types of cultured pearl, including Freshwater pearls and three types of saltwater pearl known as Akoya pearls, Tahitian pearls and South Sea pearls. Their size can range from as little as 1.5mm in diameter to as much as 20mm in diameter. Their natural colours can include creamy whites, pastel shades of pink, peach and apricot, cooler hues of silver, grey, blue, purple and black and the warm opulence of gold.
Each pearl will also have been carefully cultured in a mussel or oyster for between 6 months and 3 years and their quality, uniqueness and rarity will increase their value. There really is no straightforward answer to what are the best pearls to buy, but our advice would be to consider the following three factors when looking for a pearl gift.
Choose a piece of pearl jewellery that has been graded by an expert. There are several different systems used across the industry, for example we use the GIA Pearl Description System. Do be careful when no information about a pearl is presented or when a pearl is described as being of AAAA quality.
Lustre describes how a pearl reflects light from its surface and should be sharp and mirror-like, catching the light and the eye. This is one of the best qualities of a pearl and is quite unlike any other gemstone. One of our favourite types of pearls is the Akoya pearl which is admired for its stunning lustre.
Choose a design that shows off the best features of the pearl. Our Luna Rose ring pictured above contrasts the round shape and unusual aubergine colour of the Tahitian pearl with the rectangular shape and candy colour of the pink sapphire gem.
If you have any questions about pearls, our jewellery or our website, our Customer Care team would be happy to help you.
IMAGE CREDIT: Copyright of Winterson